We are used to fine wines that hail from New South Wales. But old south Wales? What a turn-up. Richard Morris, who runs the Ancre Hill Estates vineyard in Monmouthshire, deserves congratulations for producing White Welsh Regional White 2008, which has been praised by three major global wine competitions.
But perhaps we shouldn't be so surprised. For Wales has a history of exotic exports which surprise and delight foreign tastes, from David Lloyd George to Shirley Bassey, to Henry VII and Catherine Zeta Jones. Is it really so odd that Wales should produce a drinkable wine too? After all, there is no shortage of green valleys.
Here the Welsh might feel some solidarity with their English neighbours, particularly those who are feted for producing half-decent tipples. Isn't there something rather patronising about these proud nations being patted on the back for knocking out something that is traditionally produced in great volume by a close neighbour? Why does the condescension only travel one way? We say: let's see how proficient France is at making laver bread and warm beer. And if they do well, maybe they can get a prize.