Known as Domaine Evremond, 69 hectares of farmland at Stone Stile Farm in Kent has been bought by Champagne Taittinger working with Hatch Mansfield – premium wine distributors based in Berkshire – and private investors. Forty hectares of the new estate will be planted with Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier vines to produce English sparkling wine.

The land, a former apple farm, is near Chilham in Kent, close to Canterbury and Faversham. 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 of soil, microclimate and topography to plant and grow high quality vines. Stephen Skelton, master of wine and a viticulture consultant, has worked closely with the Domaine Evremond team to secure the ideal plot for vineyard development.

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. Built on the values of friendship, this venture will create something special to show our appreciation of the UK support for Champagne – it is Champagne Taittinger’s number one export market.

“We believe we can produce a high quality English sparkling wine drawing on our 80 years of winemaking expertise. Our aim is to make something of real excellence in the UK’s increasingly temperate climate, and not to compare it with Champagne or any other sparkling wine.”

The Taittinger family has strong connections to Kent through Pierre-Emmanuel’s father, Jean Taittinger, who twinned Canterbury with Reims more 45 years ago when he was mayor of Reims between 1959 and 1977.

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 during the court of Charles II. A poet, epicurean and literary critic, he is buried in Poets Corner in Westminster Abbey. A passionate historian, Pierre-Emmanuel Taittinger named the new venture Domaine Evremond in his memory.

No wine will be produced until the plots are transformed from orchards into vineyards, after which time premium English sparkling wine will be made using “domaine” fruit from the farm.

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