I, like everyone else in the world, spent yesterday swept up in Royal Wedding Mania. A lovely bride…a rich, balding groom…throngs of plump women weeping at the romance of it all. What’s not to love?
For the British wine industry: a lot. Romantic as the wedding was, the day was a P.R. disaster for British wine. Despite months of speculation that British sparkling wine might be served at the wedding reception, the Royal caterer snubbed British wine in favor of Pol Roger from France.
In the end, the only involvement British wine had in the royal wedding was powering the Aston-Martin in which the couple photo-opped around the palace driveway. That car, borrowed from Prince Charles, is powered by ethanol distilled from surplus British wine.
The car – which is kept at Highgrove and clocks up just 300 miles a year – averages ten miles a gallon, the equivalent of 4.5 bottles of wine for every mile.
That there is such a thing as “surplus British wine” is difficult to believe. Great Britain produces the equivalent of less than 3 million bottles of wine year but consumes roughly 500 times that much — 1.6 billion bottles. You’d think if the local stuff were even a little bit palatable there wouldn’t be any of it left to distill into fuel. But no. There is apparently plenty.
And there’s the future King of England — assuming Queen Elizabeth ever dies, which is looking less and less likely as the eons pass — demonstrating his loyalty to British farmers and vintners by the wine they so lovingly produce as fuel to drive his daddy’s car to his wedding reception. There, the whole world will toast his glowing future with French Champagne.