Windsor Sparkling Wine now in stock.
17 February 2017
This is a very special bottle of sparkling wine. We have been
able to get hold of 60 bottles of the 2000 that were produced from
Here's some information from the press release...
Windsor Great Park Vineyard is new. But it follows what seems to
be the longest vineyard tradition in the country, and marks the
rebirth of Windsor Castle's ancient vineyards. These are known to
have existed in the reign of Henry II (1154-1189). The classic
Champagne varieties of Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Pinot Meunier
vines have been planted in an ideal location: a sheltered, gentle,
south-facing slope above a small lake, where grapes always seem to
ripen exceptionally early.
This lively and extremely elegant fizz has been made by
theméthode traditionnelle… the classic, double fermentation process
that produces such fine Champagnes. (Although, interestingly, the
invention of the method was first claimed by an Englishman; Sir
Christopher Merret in a paper to The Royal Society in London in
1662. That is to say some 20 years before the French monk, Dom
Pérignon, began using the same process across the Channel!).
I didn't realise that Windsor Great Park even had a
Yes, vines certainly existed in the grounds of Windsor Castle in
the 12th century during the reign of Henry II and Queen
Eleanor of Aquitaine (whose duchy included Bordeaux). There may
have been vineyards before, and certainly there have been vineyards
since; and there is still the odd vine here and there but for table
grapes rather than for making wine. Interestingly, for Her
Majesty's recent birthday, Simon Roberts, Anne Linder (who manages
the vineyard for Laithwaite's) and Tony Laithwaite personally
presented to The Queen a small amount of a sparkling wine made only
for her, called 'The Home Park'. The grapes came from just one vine
of unknown age that still grows on The Castle walls. The Queen
drove Prince Philip down to meet us. It was very relaxed, happy and
informal. Tony has not stopped talking about it ever since.
Is the Windsor Great Park Vineyard 2013 the first wine
to come from the vineyard?
Yes. It is the very first English Quality Sparkling Wine to be
produced from the vineyard, made from the first, very small harvest
of grapes picked in 2013 and put through two fermentations and a
long maturation over the ensuing 3 years. English Quality Sparkling
Wine, coming from a cooler climate, generally needs - and gets - a
longer period of maturation than do most ordinary Champagnes.
What other wines will the vineyard be
None.The soil and climatic conditions of the site are perfectly
suited to producing excellent sparkling wine, so our focus will be
on doing just that … really brilliantly.
Is the wine being made at Windsor Great
No, the grapes are being hand picked into small baskets that are
immediately transported to the Roberts family's award-winning
Ridgeview Estate winery in East Sussex. Laithwaite's were
Ridgeview's first customer, and the two families have worked
together for over 20 years. Our specialist sparkling winemaker
Henry Laithwaite, works closely with Simon Roberts and the South
Ridge team to capture the high quality of the fruit from Windsor
Has The Queen / Royal Family approved the
The Duke of Edinburgh as Head Ranger of Windsor Great Park knows
the site well. Prince Charles paid a visit quite recently and was
very enthusiastic about the whole project.
What does the sparkling wine taste like?
It is remarkable for a vineyard's very first wine. Generally
speaking sparkling wine vineyards need a few vintages before they
achieve the depth and complexity already displayed here. It does
what fine sparkling wines should; it is extremely delicate, it is
wonderfully refreshing. The masses of tiny bubbles give the wine a
caressing, creamy texture. No strong flavours dominate - which is
at it should be. There are just these wispy hints that come and go,
of brioche, cherry blossom, and crisp English apples.
How many bottles of the Windsor Great Park Vineyard 2013
have been produced?
Fewer than 2,000 bottles are available from this first
When will the second vintage be available?
Exact timings are to be confirmed but we're expecting the second
vintage to be available to order in the run up to Christmas