Pierre-Emmanuel Taittinger preparing to plant the first vines at Domaine Evremond in Kent.
The Taittinger family acquired the land for Domaine Evremond in autumn 2015. At a ceremony today (3 May), the house’s president, Pierre-Emanuel Taittinger, his wife Claire and daughter Vitalie, as well as representatives of the house’s UK agent and partner in the project, Hatch Mansfield, broke the ground and planted the first vines.
A total of 20 hectares of Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Meunier will be planted by the end of the month, rising to 40ha over the next two to three years. So far, Taittinger is the only Champagne house to plant its own vineyard in the UK with the aim of making sparkling wine.
The first wines from Domaine Evremond are expected to be released in 2023, after the vineyard has had three years to establish itself before its first harvest, and then a further three years bottle ageing.
Pierre-Emmanuel commented: “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.”
Patrick McGrath MW, managing director of Hatch Mansfield, added: “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.”
Last month it was reported that this year would see a record one million vines planted in the UK, making it one the country’s fastest growing agricultural sectors.
Furthermore, Champagne Pommery is following closely in Taittinger’s footsteps in the planting department. As previously reported by the drinks business, Pommery has bought 40ha of land near Southampton which it will plant with vines this spring.
As noted above, wines from both vineyards will take some years before they hit the market but Pommery will be able to pip Taittinger to the post in this regard, as it is releasing an English sparkling wine called ‘Louis Pommery’ in partnership with Hattingley Valley later this year.
Source: The Drinks Business