The Royal family often serves wine from Sussex in banquets held at the Buckingham Palace. After the wedding William and Kate were also served wine from Chapel Down in Kent. The interest of the Royal family in wines is going up to another level. The Telegraph reported recently that the Royal family is planning to plant 16,700 vines in a section of Windsor Great Park. As per the plans the vineyard will have plants of champagne variety like chardonnay, pinot noir and pinot meunier. The ultimate aim is to make an English sparkling wine from grapes grown in the Crown Estate.
The Duke of Edinburgh is taking personal interest in the project. Stephen Skelton the Master of Wine is the consultant for the project. He is the one who way back in 1976 had planted the first vines at Chapel Down which over the years has grown to become the largest producer in Britain. The news of the new initiative in the field from the Royal family has generated a lot of excitement in the English wine trade. Bob Lindo of Camel Valley vineyards considers it to be the biggest boost to the English wine industry.
The area under grapes plantation has seen significant growth in the last couple of decades. In 1984 the figure stood at only 325 hectares but has been increasing consistently since then. Julia Trustram Eve of English Wine Producers claims that the official figure stands at 1,323 hectares today but the actual figure would be even higher than that. The preference for sparkling wine has grown over the years and in year 2009 almost half the grape production was utilized for making sparkling wine of one kind or another. Last year the total production of English wine was 4 million bottles which is significantly higher than than the previous record of 3.5 million bottles.