A stone's throw from the Queen's Windsor Castle residence, in the county of Berkshire, UK, a wine merchant was given permission to plant a vineyard in "Windsor Great Park" in 2011. Laithwaite's imagined creating a sparkling wine from grapes grown in the Royal Park, planting the three varieties typically used to make French champagne: Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier. Note, however, that the wine can't be sold as a "champagne," of course, since only wines produced in a specific region of France and made using set procedures can use the protected name.
For two years, Laithwaite's steadily revived the historic vineyard in Windsor Great Park, where grapes have traditionally been grown for more than a thousand years. Under the watchful eye of Prince Charles, who heads the estate, the first batch of wine was released just before Christmas last year. The 2013 Windsor Great Park Vineyard sparkling wine, available in a three-bottle gift set, sold out quickly, with just under 2,000 bottles soon snapped up.
Preorders open for the 2014 vintage
The 2014 batch is already up for pre-order at laithwaites.co.uk. It's not yet known how many bottles will be available, but the 2014 fizz should be available from fall 2017. The wine is characterised by its pale yellow color, fine bubbles and lemon and stone fruit notes.