On Saturday 7 November, Nelson Tasman Tourism and Wine Nelson hosted His Royal Highness Prince Charles and Her Royal Highness Camilla the Duchess of Cornwall at a “Source to Serve” wine event!
The event was beautifully staged in a large winery barrel hall set in the hills of Nelson. Top Nelson Chefs had produced a wonderful array of prime Nelson food dishes, using sustainable seafood including fresh salmon, mussels and oysters, organic lamb and beef, local artisan cheeses and fresh berries. A selection of the top wines from Nelson, two craft beers and a local cider sat alongside the gourmet delights.
Brightwater Vineyards Nelson Pinot Noir was chosen to be offered alongside the organic lamb and beef.
We had a long and nervous wait then suddenly things started happening. Security in suits spread throughout the room then the Royal Couple, surrounded by a swarm of clicking cameras, appeared coming down the stairs.
The Royals were introduced to dignitaries and then went on to be introduced to the chefs and wineries at station one – fresh salmon with Rose and Sauvignon Blanc.
Then members of the Royal entourage rushed over to our station and moved all the invited guests back. A gracious English lady said “Pour the wine now. Have it poured so that it is ready for them when they arrive.”
First Prince Charles then HRH Camilla ambled over to our station.
We were introduced and Prince Charles extended his hand to Valley and said hello. Valley said “Good afternoon Your Royal Highness” and shook his hand. Prince Charles said hello to Gary. Gary replied the same and they shook hands.
Charles said “And what do we have here?”
Gary replied “This is Brightwater Vineyards Pinot Noir.”
Charles picked up the bottle and said “Do you grow this here then?”
Gary said “Yes. We grow it here in Nelson.”
Valley then gave a brief explanation of the difference between the hills and the plains subregions.
At this stage HRH Camilla joined us. Prince Charles smiled and said “Well I’m not the expert, my wife is. I’d better let her tell me if it’s any good!”
HRH Camilla smiled, lifted a glass and took a sip. “Oh” She said “This is nice.” Another sip. “ It has a lovely nose and great flavours on the palate. Very nice indeed.”
Charles said “Well I’d better try some then.” He picked up a glass, put it to his nose, smiled and took a small sip.
Camilla said “You know my father was a wine merchant and when I was very young I used to go on buying trips with him to Bordeaux and Champagne so I have been around wine for a very long time.”
Camilla said that she loves Pinot Noir, unfortunately we can’t grow Pinot Noir in England as the weather is not warm enough.
Valley said “ I know you are the President of the UK Vineyards Association and they were growing some wonderful grapes for sparkling wines.”
Camilla said “ That’s right” and she said “we are even beating the French, how great is that?”
Camilla took three sips of the wine while smiling at the cameras while Charles moved to admire the beef and lamb on offer and be introduced to Grant Dicker, the chef from Mint Dining Room.
The Royal couple spent 40 minutes in total at the function. It was a very successful event for both Wine Nelson and the Nelson Region as a whole!