Royal visit draws eyes to region's wine

Central Otago Winegrowers Association president James Dicey and Central Otago Pinot Noir chairwoman Lucie Lawrence, who will be talking to the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge about the region's wines this weekend. Photo supplied.
Central Otago Winegrowers Association president James Dicey and Central Otago Pinot Noir chairwoman Lucie Lawrence, who will be talking to the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge about the region's wines this weekend. Photo supplied.
''The eyes of the world will be on Central Otago wine this weekend,'' Central Otago Pinot Noir chairwoman Lucie Lawrence said ahead of this weekend's royal visit.

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge will visit Amisfield winery, near Lake Hayes, on Sunday, where wines from 30 local wineries will be available to the couple.

Central Otago Winegrowers' Association president James Dicey will escort the duke through the tasting, while Ms Lawrence will accompany the duchess.

''It'll be very much an informal event, with us walking around chatting to the various winemakers, growers and owners representing each of their wineries,'' Mr Dicey said.

Ms Lawrence said the Central Otago wine region was a young wine-growing area ''and to grow our appeal and inform the world about our wines is an opportunity money simply can't buy''.

''We certainly expect interest in the region to significantly increase following the royal visit.''

The event is designed to showcase some of the region's best and award-winning wineries to the Royal couple, focusing on varieties grown in Central Otago.

The Royal couple will also get to view some of Amisfield's vines close up.

There would be a natural focus on pinot noir - the variety Central Otago is most famed for - but the Royals will also be introduced to the area's riesling, chardonnay, pinot gris and sparkling wines.

Also on the menu is the best of Otago's local produce, as each wine variety will be matched with food.

An international media contingent of 120 will return to Amisfield later on Sunday for another wine-tasting and food event.

Mr Dicey said it was ''an absolute privilege'' to be able to inform and educate the duke on the region's wines but added he was ''a little nervous'' given the level of international interest surrounding their visit.