The Queen to name ship with English fizz

The Queen will name the new P&O Cruises vessel Britannia in Southampton, on Tuesday (March 10) with English sparkling wine from Wiston Estate.

Four nebuchadnezzars (the equivalent of 20 bottles) of Wiston Estate Brut NV have been specially commissioned for the naming ceremony of Britannia, one of which will be smashed on her bow to launch officially the ship, while bottles of the Brut NV and Rosé Vintage 2011 will be served during the various inaugural events.

P&O says its newest and largest ship, Britannia, will be the embodiment of the best of British, with her union Jack livery, British contemporary art and design on board and a focus on British food and drink throughout its bars and restaurants.

The menus and drinks lists have been created by P&O Cruises’ 'Food Heroes'; including James Martin, Marco Pierre White, Atul Kochhar, wine critic Olly Smith and cheese expert Charlie Turnbull.

A cookery school is also on board, with these and other celebrity chefs such as Mary Berry to run Masterclasses on a number of Britannia’s sailings as guest presenters.

P&O Cruises’ marketing director Christopher Edgington commented: “When it came to selecting a wine for Britannia's naming ceremony and inaugural season, we wanted to keep in with our British positioning and select an English sparkling wine. The Wiston Estate Winery immediately stood out as a British brand with a proud history, very much in our own mould.”

This was endorsed by P&O’s wine expert Olly Smith, who helped to choose the perfect English sparkling wine to celebrate the launch of the biggest ship to be built for the UK market: “I selected Wiston Estate to launch Britannia thanks to its impeccable quality and for its poise between modernity and tradition. Wiston stands for passion and pride as a technically masterful English sparkling wine producer since 2006 with heritage as a farming estate stretching back to 1743. But the main reason is because its bubbly is irresistibly delicious.”

Rebecca Palmer, buyer for Corney & Barrow, Wiston Estate’s UK agent and distributor, said: “Wiston’s wines are delicious and fine; P&O Cruises’ decision to choose Wiston for such an important ceremony is incredibly exciting not just in recognising Wiston’s excellence, but also in championing the potential of the entire English sparkling wine scene.”

Wiston’s proprietors Harry, Pip and Richard Goring together with winemaker Dermot Sugrue will be on board Britannia to celebrate this historic moment.