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Taittinger plants vines in Chilham Kent

President of Champagne Taittinger, Pierre-Emmanuel Taittinger, has planted his first vines in Taittinger's Domaine Evremond vineyard in Chilham, Kent – the first Grande Marque Champagne house to plant in the UK.

He was joined by his wife, Claire, daughter, Vitalie, and representatives from Taittinger’s UK agency and partner Hatch Mansfield, to plant the first of 20 hectares of Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier vines at the new estate.

Champagne Taittinger acquired the Kent farmland in autumn 2015, announcing the launch of Domaine Evremond that December. The initial planting to bring the Domaine Evremond vineyard to life, will take place during May 2017, with plans to plant a total of 40 hectares over the next two to three years.

Taittinger is the only Grande Marque Champagne house to be run by its eponymous family and is the first Grande Marque Champagne to establish a vineyard in the UK to make premium English Sparkling wine. The first English Sparkling wine from Domaine Evremond should be released for drinking in 2023, after three years of ageing in bottle.

Pierre-Emmanuel Taittinger says: “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.”

The Evremond vineyard is a joint venture between Champagne Taittinger, its UK agency Hatch Mansfield, and friends.

Patrick McGrath of Hatch Mansfield adds: “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. It will be a gradual process.”

6 May 2017 - Sam Coyne The Drinks Report, news editor