Wines go down royally
With speculation rife the Duchess of Cambridge was pregnant, the question at the back of everyone's minds at Amisfield Winery yesterday was - will she or won't she be sampling the wine?
And she did. "She wasn't holding back, that's for sure," Timbo Morrison-Deaker said.
Sarah Barnie, of Chard Farm, said: "She was joking about needing some Dutch courage for the jet-boat ride. She was enjoying herself."
News reports yesterday in the United Kingdom and New Zealand were quoting Cynthia Read's conversation with Prince William about the fine lace shawl she made for Prince George. He reportedly told her: "You might have to make another one soon".
Many interpreted that to mean the the duchess was pregnant.
However, representatives of the Central Otago wineries where not convinced when they saw the couple indulging in the local tipple.
The man behind it all, Central Otago Wine Association president James Dicey, hosted the royal couple and said things changed when the gathered media left the area.
"You could see them visibly relax. There was a lot of joking backwards and forwards."
They asked many questions about the region's pinot noir, and Prince William expressed a particular fondness for red wine.
"They spent quality time with everybody," he said.
Even 12-year-old Isobella Morrison enjoyed her moment as she shook hands with Kate and moved to present her with flowers.
"She was like 'Do you have flowers for William?' and I was like 'Oh yeah'. I didn't know what to say so I gave them to him. He said 'I never get flowers' and said he really liked them and they had a bit of a laugh."
Outside the winery and all over the Wakatipu Basin, thousands of people, many decked out in Union Jacks and tiaras, spent a sunny afternoon lining the road waiting for a glimpse of Kate and William as they drove into the winery and departed again.
Keen royal watcher Diane Todd, of Invercargill, drove to Queenstown with daughter Laura and friend Joy McConachie, of Lochiel. Having previously travelled to the UK for William and Kate's wedding she knew to arrive a couple of hours early, bring a seat and a picnic.
"And I'm embarrassing myself with my silly hat," she said of the tall Union Jack on top of her head.
She was also in the UK when Prince George was born and attempted to drive by Kate's family home with Laura to maybe see the newborn third in the line to the throne. "We got turned away by the police."
They managed to glimpse Prince William as the motorcade arrived and departed, Laura said.
"He was smiling and waving when they drove in."
- The Southland Times