Nyetimber English sparkling wine topped the bill of fare at a Downing Street dinner to celebrate the Queen's Golden Jubilee.

Premier Tony Blair entertained the Queen and every surviving former prime minister at the Prime Minister’s London residence on Monday. The award-winning sparkling wine, made in the south of England, was the first wine served.

Producers Stuart and Sandra Moss – who are originally from Chicago – planted vines in Sussex in 1990 because they felt, ‘nobody else was doing it as it should be done’. Since then they have proved that the English climate (Sussex is not many degrees north of Champagne) is perfect for making top class sparkling wine. ‘We have a patch of soil the Champenois would kill for,’ Stuart Moss said.

The wine appears frequently at Buckingham Palace where visiting heads of state are treated to an example of American-made homegrown produce. ‘We realised early on that the wine would have to be really great for people to pay any attention to it,’ said Stuart Moss. Nyetimber has won numerous wine medals and awards.

The Nyetimber vineyard was recently sold to British songwriter Andy Hill, ‘to ensure it was kept with a British owner with the same philosophy’, said Stuart Moss. The Mosses continue to make the wine and manage the vineyard operation.

Written by Josie McLaughlin1 May 2002