Pierre-Emmanuel Taittinger (left), president of Champagne Taittinger, has planted the first vines in Taittinger's Domaine Evremond vineyard in Chilham, Kent.
It makes Champagne Taittinger the first Grande Marque Champagne to establish a vineyard in the UK to make premium English sparkling wine.
He was joined by his wife Claire, daughter Vitalie and representatives from Taittinger's UK agency and partner Hatch Mansfield to plant the first of 20 hectares of Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier vines at the estate.
Taittinger acquired the Kent farmland in autumn 2015, announcing the launch of Domaine Evremond in December. The initial planting takes place this month, with plans to plant a total of 40 hectares over the next two to three years.
The first English sparkling wine from Domaine Evremond should be released for drinking in 2023, after three years of ageing in bottle.
Patrick McGrath (right), 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."
Viticulture consultant Stephen Skelton has worked closely with the Domaine Evremond team in securing the plot for vineyard development.
Photo credit: Thomas Alexander Photography
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