The Queen has unveiled a fun and exciting new venture – producing sparkling wine! The monarch's Windsor Estate have revealed that they are launching a new Chardonnay champagne, the Windsor Vineyard 2014, which has been cultivated from their very own Windsor Great Park vineyards.
Although the bottles aren't due to go on sale until autumn, they're already proving a hit with royal enthusiasts who are keen to get their hands on the limited edition bottles. The British merchant Laithwaites offered a pre-order option of the wine on their website earlier this week and the 3,000 bottles, priced at £35 each (approximately $60), sold out within days.
The Windsor Vineyard 2014 is actually the second batch of the champagne to be released by the estate. They first unveiled their fizz over Christmas as part of a £75 gift set, which also sold out within days. Production is expected to keep soaring to an impressive 20,000 bottles a year within the next decade.
It's been a six-year-long project for the Queen's estate, with the Windsor Great Park vineyard first being launched in 2011. Laithwaites leased four hectares of land from the Crown Estate and began planting 16,700 vines of Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier grapes, all of the champagne variety, before sending them to Ridgeview in 2013 to be blended and fermented.
The vineyards are also managed by the Royal Farms, a project launched by Prince Philip in 2001. The Duke of Edinburgh set up the organisation after coming up with the idea of selling high quality goods from the Royal Estates, as well as other small local suppliers, in order to support the smaller businesses in the area.
It's set to be an exciting year for the Queen, who on Monday 6 February will make history as the first British monarch to reach 65 years on the throne. Although the Sapphire Jubilee marks yet another milestone in her reign, Her Majesty is not expected to hold any public celebrations or attend official engagements, instead choosing to spend the day in private.