The English wine industry is up in arms about comments made by the Prince of Wales’s private secretary.

Referring to the biofuel distilled from wine used to power the Prince’s Aston Martin DB6, Sir Michael Peat said, ‘I think our wine is surplus English wine.’

But English wine producers are furious that the royal family should suggest there is a surplus of English wine.

‘The story is rubbish’ consultant Stephen Skelton MW said. ‘There is no surplus of English wine and we don’t belong to the European distillation regime.’

Replying to bulletin board jibes that English wine ‘must taste like petrol’, Skelton said, ‘We are as good as anywhere else in the world’.

The English wine industry, he said, has come a long way in the past 30 to 40 years, winning a huge array of awards and trophies. In results from the most recent competition where over 200 wines were entered only 30 failed to receive official recognition.

‘English producers spend great time and money investing into production methods, pushing our sparkling wines into an altogether different league.’

He added, ‘I can guarantee that nobody has sold wine for distillation.’

Prince Charles’s office at Clarence House yesterday sent out a retraction: ‘the wine used was a waste product which was unfit for human consumption as it had been in storage for too long.’

Written by Sophie McLean