Royal Ascot is the centrepiece of the British social scene and the ultimate stage for the best racehorses in the world. Few events can match the rich heritage, horseracing, pomp and pageantry that entice worldwide spectators, who flock to enjoy the theatre as much as the racing. The event which takes many months to prepare is Champagne Bollinger’s largest global sponsorship.
Ascot was first opened by Queen Anne in 1711 and now attended each year by Queen Elizabeth II and other members of the Royal Family. Champagne Bollinger, the Official Champagne of Ascot is the first and only ‘Official Champagne’ that has been appointed by Ascot since it was founded.
The build-up to Royal Ascot happens months in advance, or indeed many years if you take into account the Bollinger cuvees allocated for Royal Ascot, which lay patiently in wait in the Bollinger family cellars.
Royal Ascot 2017, was launched with a fine dining press event in February, to whet the appetite of key luxury journalists, with Bollinger paired menus crafted by Raymond Blanc and Phil Howard, who host the Panoramic and On5 restaurants respectively and provide the finest gastronomic experiences worthy of the majestic views across the emerald-green grounds.
Although Royal Ascot is steeped in history and has global awareness, the Royal Ascot team work hard to keep things fresh, by adding exciting new elements to the Royal Ascot mix, from the headline chefs to the fashion.
Style and substance were the theme going forward to build momentum towards June 2017. Bollinger partnered with Ascot for a host of wonderful events, ranging from launching the Ascot creative campaign at The Goring with a Royal Ascot flight of Bollinger Champagne, to the Royal Ascot Style Guide launch at The Ritz with a Bollinger Breakfast.
Nothing quite compares to the scale and spectacle of the event itself and Bollinger was woven into all aspects of the 5 day extravaganza, from the hospitality, winning owner presentations and of course the celebrations, which all took place during the heatwave of Tuesday 20 to Saturday 24 June 2017.
The four Bollinger Bars: two in the Queen Anne Enclosure and two in the Royal Enclosure were central to the Royal Ascot experience and a hub for all those attending the Royal Meeting.
Rebecca Herbert and James Malone were helping behind the scenes to ensure everything was perfect for the demanding standards of the Royal Ascot guests. The Bollinger Royal Ascot day began at 11:00am, with a glass of Bollinger Special Cuvée to toast the day. Team Bollinger could be found busy at work: Mr Alan Montague-Dennis; hosting the Club Secretaries at the Madame Bollinger Lounge in the Royal Enclosure Gardens and Mr Andrew Hawes; ensuring our VIP customers had a glass of Bollinger in hand to refresh them in the sweltering heat.
I could mostly be found dashing around trying to round-up friends of the brand, not a hard task with a chilled glass of Bollinger on offer during the hottest days of the year. We were delighted to host some wonderful guests including; England Rugby player Chris Robshaw and his girlfriend Camilla Kerslake the English classical singer. Bollinger’s artist in residence Sherree Valentine Daines, who painted the Bollinger advertising campaign and this year’s judges and winner author of the Bollinger Everyman Wodehouse Prize Mr Justin Albert and Ms Helen Fielding. Once our guests’ thirst was quenched, they were treated to a Bollinger paired menu in the exclusive Royal Enclosure Gardens Wyndham Club.
Each race day only truly begun at 2:00pm with the Royal Procession, in which members of the Royal Family join the Queen in the Royal Landaus carriage, led by four Windsor Greys down the famous Straight Mile and elegantly pass the Bollinger Lounge on the Motivator Lawn through to the Parade Ring.
The Bollinger guests were offered a very exclusive visit to the Parade Ring, to view the beauty and form of the day’s runners, before heading off to place a bet.
When guests were not watching the magnificent racing, they flocked to the Bollinger Lounge on the Motivator Lawn. ITV presenters could be seen broadcasting live or sheltering celebrities from the sun. Most importantly for those attending Royal Ascot the Bollinger Bars are the place to see and be seen. There was always a bottle of Bollinger in reach to quench the thirst and as the curtain came down on another fabulous five days of action in Berkshire, Royal Ascot shone bright for a moment in which the people and the royals come together to enjoy one of Britain’s favourite sporting events.
As you have read, Royal Ascot is not only about racing, and it is not ashamed of that and a poem from Henry Birtles commissioned by Ascot sums the meeting up brilliantly:
A World Like Nowhere Else
Spinning on its own Axis, where seas of silk lap graceful shores, A world like nowhere else exists Where quintessential currents run and elegance and power converge, And tales of timeless greats are spun and show-stoppers emerge A world for all to celebrate; light years away from ordinary A world which deftly radiates its realm; and bows to the extraordinary Where earthly rigours found outside and lived outside are left outside And wishes wished are realised through all the finer tastes this land will grant To let its spell enchant; to walk its walk once through those golden gilded gates To gaze at beauty styled and beauty stitched on graceful form adorned To know the bay imperious Horse immortalised and cast in bronze is Yeats That headlines here accomplished render sporting moments starred This Kingdom … smiling Green Coats kindly guard; this universe beyond three centuries old Such elements, such pieces of a jigsaw wrought to mould this multi-coloured globe A blazing beacon to the most majestic sport of all where heroes rise and heroes fall, And Royal Ascot’s world stands tallest of the tall.