High-end champagne house Taittinger has planted the first vines at its new Kent location on land bought from fruit grower Gaskains.
Sparkling wine from the new vineyard, in Chilham, Kent, will be named Domaine Evremond. Vines will be planted on 40 acres over the next two to three years.
Taittinger is the first Grande Marque champagne house to establish a vineyard in the UK, a move first announced in 2015 after the acquisition from Gaskains. The fruit farm is an investor in the new vineyard, according to the Guardian newspaper, and will continue to grow and supply top and soft fruit on its remaining land.
The first plantings of Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier vines were unveiled by president Pierre-Emmanuel Taittinger, who was joined by wife, Claire and daughter, Vitalie, along with representatives from Taittinger’s joint venture partner in the UK, Hatch Mansfield.
Taittinger said: “Our family has always had a great affection for the UK and for Kent – my father Jean Taittinger twinned Canterbury with Reims when he was mayor of the latter in the 1950s.
“We have been very impressed by the quality of English sparkling wine being produced, and we believe the combination of chalk soils, climate and topography of our site in Kent are ideal for producing quality sparkling wine. These attributes are perfect for grape growing, and are very similar to the terroir in Champagne, for us it was a natural step to do this.”
MD of Hatch Mansfield, Patrick McGrath, said the vineyard will ultimately be able to be produce 300,000 bottles a year of premium English sparkling wine after vines reach maturity.
The first bottles from Domaine Evremond are due for drinking in 2023, after three years of ageing.