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Taittinger plants first vines for English sparkling wine

Planting has officially begun at Domaine Evremond, the vineyard land in Kent purchased by Champagne Taittinger and partners, as Pierre-Emmanuel Taittinger tells Decanter.com that he wants to build a winery and sees the area becoming a tourist attraction.

  • Taittinger’s English sparkling wine moves a step closer as first vines are planted

  • Pierre-Emmanuel Taittinger outlines future plans

  • One million vines to be planted across England in 2017, says trade body

Pierre-Emmanuel Taittinger led a ceremony in a windswept field in Kent today (03 May) to officially break ground on the Champagne producer’s English vineyard, named Domaine Evremond, and located near to Chilham village in Kent.

pierre-emmanuel taittinger, english wine

Pierre-Emmanuel Taittinger makes a short speech as Patrick McGrath MW, MD of Hatch Mansfield and Stephen Skelton MW, who consulted on the project, look on. Credit: Thomas Alexander Photography.

Champagne Taittinger has a 55% stake in the project, announced in December 2015. Other investors include Taittinger’s UK agent, Hatch Mansfield.

Speaking to Decanter.com at the vineyard site, Pierre-Emmanuel said that Kent was chosen because of the quality of the land.

And he already has an idea about future plans.

‘Chilham is extraordinary, full of charm,’ he said. ‘We will eventually build a winery here. I think it will bring lots of French tourists to the area. Already I have many friends in Champagne who want to visit – and it’s so close.’

taittinger kent, domaine evremond

Planting begins at Taittinger’s Domaine Evremond site in Kent. Credit: Thomas Alexander Photography.

The Taittinger consortium’s team will plant Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier, the traditional Champagne grape varieties, on the 69-hectare site.

They will plant 40 hectares over the next two to three years, but drinkers will have to wait until 2023 for the first wine to be released. Vines need time to grow and the wines will be aged for at least three years.

Pierre-Emmanuel said that he wanted to make a wine distinct from Champagne.

Another Champagne house, Vranken-Pommery, followed has already followed in Taittinger’s footsteps by announcing its own arrival in English wine in 2016.

How to prepare a new vineyard

In spring 2016, the Domaine Evremond team cleared the mature fruit trees from the site and planted Italian Alder trees to provide protection from the wind.

They then turned the soil to bring up the remains of the old root systems of the apples and pears, which had to be removed by hand.

One million vines to be planted

Confidence is high in the fledgling English and Welsh wine industry at the moment.

This year, an estimated one million vines will be planted in England, according to English Wine Producers.

‘2017 will see the largest number of vines ever planted in a single year in the UK,’ said Stephen Skelton MW, regional chair at the Decanter World Wine Awards 2017 and who also consulted on the Taittinger project in Kent.

With editing by Chris Mercer.

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