Watching people take a first sip of one of your wines is always going to be a nerve-racking business.
But when you’re hoping to impress the royal palate, tension takes on a whole new meaning.
Jonathan Rogers, manager at Wickham Vineyard, was thrilled to be invited to a Jubilee lunch where wines from the estate near Fareham were served to the Queen, Prince Philip and an assortment of important guests.
But he could only watch and wait to see if the assembled company reacted favourably to Hampshire wines.
‘The Queen was sat behind me so I couldn’t see her drinking but I saw a glass in front of her and the wine served at her table. I was actually sat next to the her private secretary and was chatting to him quite a lot,’ says Jonathan, adding: ‘It was a strange experience and I was nervous. But there were a lot of very positive comments which is great for us.’
The event at the Assembly Rooms in Walthamstow, London was attended by 200 specially-invited local dignitaries, mayors and charity workers with celebrity chef Cyrus Todiwala, proprietor of Michelin starred restaurant Café Spice Namaste in London, providing the cooking.
The products chosen by the drinks company supplying the event were Wickham Special Reserve Red 2009 and the Wickham Vintage Selection Dry 2010.
Jonathan says the decision to serve them and the positive reaction of the guests were endorsements not just for Wickham Vineyard but English wines in general.
‘So many people commented afterwards on just how good the wine was I felt very proud to be part of such a small but improving industry we now have here in England. English wine is excellent, not just ours here at Wickham but many other wines from producers across the country.’
n For more information on the vineyard and where to try the wines visit wickhamvine yard.com