Champagne Taittinger has announced the launch of Domaine Evremond, a new 69-hectare wine estate near Chilham, Kent that will produce premium English sparkling wine.

The purchase of the land was handled by a team from Cripps under the leadership of Sally Firby, a partner with a specialist knowledge of agricultural law.

She said: “This is a very exciting deal that firmly underlines the UK’s position as an emerging market leader in the production of top quality sparkling and still wines. All of us at Cripps were delighted to play our part in bringing it to fruition and look forward to toasting the new venture’s success.”

The first 40 hectares will be planted with chardonnay, pinot noir and pinot meunier vines, with the first bottles of the new fizz expected to go on sale in 2021.

It is the first time a Champagne house has invested in the purchase of land for the production of premium English sparkling wine.

Pierre-Emmanuel Taittinger, president of Champagne Taittinger, said: “We have dreamt for a number of years of working with our dear friends in the UK to create a special Franco/British project. We are very excited that this dream is now becoming a reality.

“We believe we can produce a high quality English sparkling wine drawing on our 80 years of winemaking expertise.

“Our family has strong connections to Kent through my father, Jean Taittinger, who twinned Canterbury with Reims over 45 years ago when he was Mayor of Reims (1959 – 1977); so I am looking forward to being able to strengthen these links with Kent and with Great Britain as we embark on this venture.”

Joining Taittinger in developing Domaine Evremond is UK wine company Hatch Mansfield, as well as private investors.

The land at Stone Stile Farm is currently an apple orchard. The plots to be planted are a maximum of 80 metres above sea level, with chalk soil and south-facing slopes creating an ideal terroir (soil, microclimate and topography) to plant and grow high quality grapes for sparkling wine.

Domaine Evremond takes its name from Charles de Saint-Evremond (1614-1703), a Frenchman and the first true ambassador for Champagne, who fuelled its popularity in England at the court of Charles II. A poet, epicurean and literary critic, he is buried in Poets’ Corner in Westminster Abbey.