Champagne house Vranken-Pommery Monopole has followed in Taittinger's footsteps by announcing it will produce English sparkling wine in a collaboration with Hattingley Valley - and its UK chairman confirmed that there is a plan to 'develop our own vineyards'.
The partnership, announced on the first day of the London Wine Fair, will see Vranken-Pommery’s chef de cave, Thierry Gasco, selecting and blending stocks from Hattingley Valley.
Gasco will work alongside Hattingley winemaker Emma Rice, who said: ‘This is a fantastic opportunity for our young and innovative winemaking team to work with and learn from the long established traditions and vast experience of such a highly regarded Champagne House, combining the best of both worlds.’
Nicholas Hyde, chairman of Vranken-Pommery UK, praised the growing English sparkling wine industry: ‘The best of English sparkling wine has already earned a growing reputation for quality. Pommery believes that adding experience and resources of a great Champagne house can create something very special.’
The announcement follows Champagne Taittinger’s December announcement that it had purchased a vineyard in Kent along with UK investment partners.
Hyde told Decanter.com that ‘Pommery will develop its own vineyards’ in the UK.
But, the house has not chosen a site and is in no rush to put vines in the ground. ‘The immediate priority is establishing, through the collaboration with Hattingley, a variety of premium grape sources that will best manage the risks of an unpredictable climate.’
Simon Robinson, owner of Hattingley Valley, said that the partnership will bring valuable experience and knowledge to the comparatively young Hattingley Valley, which had its first vintage in 2010.
Robinson said: ‘For us as a relatively young producer, working with a major champagne house as highly respected as Pommery is a great opportunity from many perspectives and is a very natural fit with our existing business.
‘Their wealth of experience is obvious and we are naturally delighted to have been chosen by them to assist their entry into the English Sparkling wine market.’
Updated 04/05/2016: Story updated to include comments from Nicholas Hyde.