Today, making English sparkling wine history, Champagne Taittinger's French planting team has broken first ground at Domaine Evremond in Chilham, Kent.
Taittinger is the first Grande Marque Champagne House to plant vines in the UK. The planting was led by president of Champagne Taittinger, Pierre-Emmanuel Taittinger along with his wife, daughter and business partner Hatch Mansfield.
Twenty hectares of Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier vines have been planted 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.
'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,' said Pierre-Emmanuel Taittinger.
'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.'
'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,' added Patrick McGrath MW, MD of Hatch Mansfield.