Stop Everything: Queen Elizabeth II Makes Her Own Sparkling Wine
(Refinery29) - French Champagne might have the clout and heritage, but it looks like that revered bubbly may be getting some unexpected competition. The Queen of England herself, Elizabeth II, just tossed her crown into the world of winemaking and believe it or not, it's a homegrown affair.
According to Food & Wine, back in 2011, "the U.K.’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." Since then, the vines have quietly been growing without much fanfare. While the world had its attention turned to more pressing matters and the royal family welcomed new additions, vintners tended the grapes, which are a combination of Champagne varieties, including Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and Pinot Meunier.
The first harvest happened in 2013 and after years of waiting, aging, and totally forgetting that the bubbly even existed, the first batch of Windsor Vineyard English Quality Sparkling Wine (about 3,000 bottles) was released just before Christmas last year — and quickly sold out. Food & Wine adds that shoppers weren't necessarily buying the wine for its quality. After all, those vines will need a few more decades to mature and really develop that unique Windsor Park terroir.