THE Duchess of Cornwall has praised the produce of a Hambleden winery.
She and Prince Charles were among 60,000 visitors to the Coronation Festival at Buckingham Palace, where Chiltern Valley Winery and Brewery was a stallholder, to mark the 60th anniversary of the Queen’s coronation.
The business, one of about 700 members of the Royal Warrant Holders Association invited to exhibit, was selling a range of wines, including a specially- produced coronation vintage.
The Duchess, who is president of the United Kingdom Vineyards Association, spent about 20 minutes at the Chiltern Valley stall chatting to production and general manager Donald Ealand.
She tasted the company’s wines and liqueurs.
Mr Ealand, 28, said: “She said they were ‘absolutely super’, which was extremely nice to hear.
“Camilla was fabulous and great to talk to. She was the easiest person in the world to get along with and her knowledge was very impressive. I didn’t feel nervous in her presence because she’s the most relaxing person you could ever meet and completely charming.
“It was an immensely proud moment and a thoroughly successful and pleasant event.”
Chiltern Valley, which was founded in 1980 by Mr Ealand’s father David, is the only winery to hold a royal warrant.
This was awarded in 2007 because the Duke of Edinburgh had been buying the company’s old Windsor ales for his own consumption for five years.
The winery, which also supplies the Windsor Farm Shop, was one of 200 British exhibitors at the festival and also sold bottled ales and sparkling wine as well as commemorative gift packs and tour and tasting vouchers.
It had delayed production of the coronation vintage wine made from the Bacchus grape in 2011 in order that it could released at the festival.
Mr Ealand said: “The whole idea was about showcasing the 60 years of the Queen and what England has been able to offer during that time.
“We’re a small family business and holding a royal warrant is massively important to us.
“Unfortunately, the Queen didn’t make it round to our stand but people came and tasted our coronation vintage wine and then bought a bottle to drink outside.
“It was non-stop from about 9.30am until 4.30pm and then again in the evening when people came to see a concert and visited our stalls. We sold hundreds of bottles, if not thousands.
“It was by far the biggest event we’ve ever done and will probably ever do.
“The closest thing is the Henley Show, which we’ve done for 20 years, where 4,000 people go for one day. This was 15,000 people each day for four days in the grounds of Buckingham Palace.”
Mr Ealand gave a 40-minute talk to about 150 people about how his wines are made.
“There was an incredible atmosphere,” he said. “Everyone seemed to be in high spirits and proud to be British.”
For more information about Chiltern Valley Winery and Brewery , visit www.chilternvalley.co.uk