Pippa Middleton a prize wine expert

When Pippa Middleton announced last year that she had embarked on a course in advanced wine-tasting, her detractors took it as yet another sign of the famously work-shy socialite avoiding life at the coal face.

But far from being just a flippant exercise in casual tippling, it emerges that the Duchess of Cambridge’s younger sister has in fact developed into a serious oenophile.

For next week she is to be honoured with an award from The Bunch, an organisation made up of the country’s six most prestigious independent wine sellers — Berry Brothers & Rudd, Adnams, Corney & Barrow, Lea & Sandeman, Tanners and Yapp Brothers.

The inaugural prize was contested by recent graduates of the Wine & Spirit Education Trust Level Three award, a highly advanced course in wine tasting usually undertaken by aspiring sommeliers which Pippa passed with distinction in December.