The UK is at the centre of an exciting development for sparkling wine as Champagne Taittinger and partners have officially started planting vines at Domaine Evremond in Kent.
Domaine Evremond was acquired by Champagne Taittinger and partners in 2015 (the former owns a 55 per cent share in the project), and according to Decanter.com, Pierre-Emmanuel Taittinger is keen to build a winery and encourage tourists to the area to witness for themselves the birth of this fledgling industry.
Excellent Kent soil selected for vineyard
Pierre-Emmanuel Taittinger officially broke ground on the brand-new project in May, marking the start of the vine planting. The vineyard is situated close to Kent’s picturesque Chilham village, and was chosen for the quality of the land.
Domaine Evremond may kickstart a bit of a tourist industry in the area, with people expected to come over from France and other countries to see the 69-hectare vineyards. Traditional Champagne grapes will be planted on site, including Pinot Noir, Pinot Meunier and Chardonnay.
Around 40 hectares will be planted by 2019/2020, and the first wine should be released in 2023, as the wine will need to be aged for three years. Pierre-Emmanuel himself said that he wants the wine to be very different to Champagne, so it’ll be exciting to see what the UK soil can produce. Vranken-Pommery, another Champagne company, also announced its UK plans last year, showing that this industry is set to grow.
Preparing the ground for a new vineyard
In spring 2016, the team at Domaine Evremond worked to prepare the vineyard for planting new vines. This backbreaking work involved clearing mature fruit trees already on site, and then planting Italian Alder trees, which will protect the vines from the English weather and wind.
The soil then had to be turned, and the remains of the old orchard root systems removed by hand. All to make perfect base to plant the new vines in May 2017. Taittinger is at the forefront of a very enthusiastic and optimistic UK wine industry.
It may be a fledgling industry, but confidence among winemakers and investors remains high in Wales and England, with around one million vines to be planted in England alone in 2017. This is the largest number planted in the UK ever, so it’s exciting times indeed for a brand-new player in the wine industry.