French Champagne house commits to producing English sparkling wine

Taittinger has become the first champagne house to invest in English sparkling wine production, buying land in Kent to establish a vineyard that will yield 300,000 bottles a year.

Pierre-Emmanuel Taittinger and Hatch Mansfield managing director Patrick McGrath MW - Image: Thomas Alexander Photography
Pierre-Emmanuel Taittinger and Hatch Mansfield managing director Patrick McGrath MW - Image: Thomas Alexander Photography

Named Domaine Evremond, the new venture is a collaboration between Taittinger, its UK agent Hatch Mansfield, private investors and friends, the Reims-based company said.

The partners have purchased 69 hectares, currently an apple and plum orchard, near Chilham in the Kent Downs. Planting of Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier vines on the chalky, south-facing slopes will begin in 2017, with first grapes harvested in 2020 and bottled in 2021.

Taittinger president Pierre-Emmanuel Taittinger said: "We believe we can produce a high quality English sparkling wine drawing on our 80 years of wine-making expertise. Our aim is to make something of real excellence in the UK's increasingly temperate climate, and not to compare it with Champagne or any other sparkling wine."

The name honours the French writer and soldier Charles de Saint-Evremond (1614-1703), who boosted the popularity of champagne in England during the court of Charles II, and is buried in Poets' Corner in Westminster Abbey.

English Wine Producers marketing director Julia Trustram Eve said: "This is fantastic news, and an exciting new chapter for this industry. It illustrates the very serious and high regard in which this industry and its wines are held."


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