A Wither Hills lunch for Wills and Kate

IAN ALLEN
Last updated 16:46 10/04/2014
royals wither hills
IAN ALLEN/Fairfax NZ

MARLBOROUGH'S FINEST: Prince William and Kate heading back to royal duties after enoying lunch at the Wither Hills winery.

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The royal couple took time out from their busy schedule this afternoon for a private lunch at a Marlborough winery.

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge stopped off at Wither Hills vineyard after a wreath-laying ceremony at Seymour Square in Blenheim.

They feasted on some of the region's top produce, thought to be salmon from the Marlborough Sounds, during their 40-minute lunch date.

William and Catherine arrived with little fanfare compared to previous appointments on the royal tour, with the chosen winery's identity kept under wraps.

Still, they didn't disappoint the small contingent of onlookers as they stopped briefly to wave before disappearing inside.

Word of the venue obviously spread as more carloads of fans lined the road opposite the winery as they dined.

The crowd of pensioners, parents, children and vineyard workers waited patiently in the drizzle as heritage aircraft from the nearby Omaka Aviation Heritage Centre, the couple's next destination, flew overhead.

When the duke and duchess reappeared, they wasted little time getting back into their car and on with the official tour.

Wither Hills business manager Guy Hernandez said it was an honour for winery staff to host the royal couple's private lunch.

There was a buzz about the winery and staff were tremendously excited, Hernandez said. However, he would not reveal any details of the "private affair", including the menu.

"It was a private function ... it is important that we respect their privacy," he said.

"We were happy to showcase the best of Marlborough food prepared by [chef] Dave Anderson and the wonderful crew that we have here."

Staff were going to have some lunch and "take a breather" before opening up to the public again, Hernandez said.

"It was a pretty amazing experience, and now we're open."

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