Duchess backs homegrown wines

The Duchess of Cornwall met with English and Welsh wine producers and predicted homegrown wines will one day be on a par with the French.

Duchess of CornwallCamilla met with producers, suppliers and critics at the Vintner’s Hall in London and tasted a range of British vineyards on Wednesday night.

The Duchess, who is known to be a fan of red wines, made the comparison to French wines when she spoke to the gathering. She said: “They have been going a little bit longer than us but it is a bit like cheeses – we will catch up with them yet.”

The Duchess added: “I have never ever tried any English red. It is much better than I thought it was going to be. Red is not what you think about English wine, it is more sparkling.”

The Duchess became president of the UK Vineyards Association last year and enjoyed a long conversation with wine critic Oz Clarke during the evening.

Later Clarke was asked if he agreed with the Duchess’s comment that British wines will be able to compete with the French some day. He told the Press Association: “We can take them on now, not some day, now, this year and last year and next year.

“The one thing we need is for the Good Lord and climate change to be a bit kinder to us.

“If we can set a crop on the vines we can ripen it, we have more great soils than Champagne has.”

He added: “The Duchess is a real believer that Britain is a great gastronomic nation, we just need to have a bit more confidence in ourselves.

“I think the British people get Camilla nowadays and are pretty fond of her, so she is a great person to have onside.”

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