Published: 12:00, 15 October 2014
| Updated: 14:45, 15 October 2014
The royal seal of approval was given to Chapel Down by The Duchess of Cornwall today.
She arrived at the Tenterden vineyard in Smallhythe Road at noon and was greeted by Frazer Thompson, chief executive, the Mayor of Ashford, Cllr John Link and the Mayor of Tenterden Cllr Jennifer Crickmore-Porter.
The visit was her first to Chapel Down and her first stop was at the vines, where vineyard manager Richard Lewis talked her through the harvesting process.
When the Duchess arrived at the vines, she joked: “Do you expect me to pick them all?”.
After cutting a couple of bunches, she added: “I could do this all afternoon.”
She then went to the pressing room where she started the pressing of some chardonnay grapes before attending a reception where she was presented with a posie by Phoebe Tresnan, eight, daughter of sales director, Guy Tresnan.
After her tour the Duchess commented: “This is one of the finest vineyards I have seen – give the French a run for their money! Long may you thrive.”
The Duchess also received eight bottles of a special pressing of Chapel Down’s sparkling wine, named Cuvee Camilla, plus a 15 litre bottle of the wine for charity.
She spent around an hour at the vineyard.
The Duchess became patron of the United Kingdom Vineyards Association in 2011 and is a supporter of home-grown British produce.
Mr Thompson said: “This is the icing on the cake of a fantastic year. We have had our best harvest ever and our biggest and best fundraising.”
Chapel Down is England’s leading wine producer. It was founded in 2001, and has grown into a multi award-winning international brand.