Her Royal Highness was in Hampshire to open the new £2.5 million winery at Hambledon and she told guests the word sparkling was not doing justice to an category that now regularly scoops major awards and has emerged as a serious contender to Champagne.
The Duchess, who is president of the UK Vineyards Association, said: “I think everyone ought to put their heads together and find a new English name for sparkling wine.
“I don’t think ‘sparkling’ sounds good enough – I think it ought to have something with more depth. That's my good plan: to find a new word for it. If anyone’s got any ideas I’d be thrilled.”
She met with staff and toasted the occasion with a glass of Hambledon Mill Down 2010 before tasting some of the base wines that will go into the new Hambledon prestige cuvée to be launched in 2015.
She added: “Can I say, it’s no hardship to be the president of the UK Vineyards Association. My family have been involved in some way or another with wines for a very, very long time – they’ve sold, they’ve drunk it, so it’s like landing the perfect job here.”
Hambledon was set up in 1952 Major General Sir Guy Salisbury-Jones and then bought by Ian Kellett in 1999.
Kellett said: “We are honoured that Her Royal Highness was able to join us to mark this occasion. The new winery represents a significant investment for us and a crucial part of our drive to produce the best sparkling wines in the UK.”