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Taittinger plants first vines in Kent

Domaine Evremond, Taittinger .Pierre Emmanuel Taittinger and Patrick McGrath MW of Hatch Mansfield Thomas Alexander Photography

Published:  04 May, 2017

A historic moment took place in Kent yesterday when Pierre-Emmanuel Taittinger planted his family’s first vines at the new Domaine Evremond vineyard in Chilham.

The Champagne house first announced plans to venture into English sparkling wine in autumn 2015 in a joint venutre with distributors Hatch Mansfield, and announced the launch of Domaine Evremond that December.

The vines planted yesterday marks the first time that a Grande Marque Champagne has established a vineyard in the UK to make premium English fizz.

Pierre-Emmanuel was joined by his wife, Claire, daughter, Vitalie, and representatives from Hatch Mansfield, Taittinger’s UK agency and partner.

Yesterday, Pierre-Emmanuel Taittinger pointed to the history between the maison and the Kent area, after his father Jean Taittinger twinned Canterbury with Reims when he was mayor of the latter in the 1950s.

He also said that the chalk soils, climate and topography of Evremond are “ideal for producing quality sparkling wine” and that the similarity in terroir to Champagne meant that planting in the area was a “natural step”.

Yesterday marked the start of the planting of the first 20 hectares of Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier.

The first English sparkling wines from Domaine Evremond are expected to be released for drinking in 2023, after three years of ageing in bottle.

“Ultimately we will be aiming to produce 300,000 bottles per year of premium English sparking wine, but this will not be for six years or more as the vines will take time to reach the stage where they are producing the quantity of quality fruit required,” said Patrick McGrath MW, MD of Hatch Mansfield, which forms one half of the joint venture.

“It will be a gradual process.”