Looking to celebrate a special occasion? Don’t bother drinking Champagne made by some French peasant! You deserve sparkling wine made by royalty – like the Queen of England. And good news: Queen Elizabeth II has recently gotten into the sparkling wine game, allowing winemakers to produce bottles of bubbly on her estate in Windsor.
The project began in 2011, when the UK’s largest wine retailer, Laithwaite’s, was given permission to plant a vineyard at Windsor Great Park, a Royal Park not far from the Queen’s well-known residence, Windsor Castle. The Champagne varieties of Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier were planted. By 2013, the grapes were ready for picking, and after two years of aging, late last year, the first 3,000 bottles of Windsor Vineyard English Quality Sparkling Wine were released, unsurprisingly, via Laithwaite’s.
Needless to say, the Queen’s name carries some serious weight, and despite coming from a vineyard that still has a lot of maturing ahead of it, the bottles – which were packaged as a three bottle gift set for £75 – sold out quickly. However, it’s suspected many buyers might have other things on their mind besides the wine’s quality. “Rare vintages can go for astonishing prices,” Tamara Roberts, chief executive of Ridgeview Wine Estate where the wine was actually produced, told the Daily Mail. “It is impossible to guess how much it might be worth one day … but it has all the right accolades, grown on the Queen’s estate, the first vintage. Who knows?”
What we do know, however, is what the 2014 vintage will be worth: £34.99. That’s the price Laithwaite’s is currently offering to preorder the next batch of Windsor wine which is set to be released this fall. And soon enough, we all may be toasting the Queen’s wine: Within just six or seven years, the vineyard is predicted to be producing 20,000 bottles annually. So though the vast majority of us will never be royalty, even us common folk can dream of drinking something that’s been grown out of the Queen’s dirt. If that isn’t the point of a monarchy, I don’t know what is.
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