Champagne Taittinger has made English sparkling wine history by planting its first vines in its English vineyard in Kent.

The official planting of Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier vines makes Taittinger the first Grande Marque Champagne House to plant vines in the UK.

The family-run Champagne producer acquired the Chilham-based vineyard, named Domaine Evremond, in autumn 2015. The 2017 planting will total more than 100,000 vines across 20 hectares but the producer aims to plant a total of 40 hectares over the next two or three years.

Pierre-Emmanuel Taittinger said: “Our father 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. 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.”

The Evremond vineyard is a joint venture between Champagne Taittinger, its UK agency Hatch Mansfield, and friends.

Patrick McGrath MW, managing director of Hatch Mansfield, said: “Ultimately we will be aiming to produce 300,000 bottles per year of premium English Sparkling 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.”

The Taittinger family has more than 80 years of winemaking expertise in the Champagne region and it has already had considerable success planting vineyards for sparkling wine in the USA in 1987, when they launched Domaine Carneros by Taittinger, a joint venture with the Kopf family of Kobrand Wine & Spirits.

The ongoing Domaine Evremond project is expected to be a multi-million pound investment over the next 10 years; the first bottling is expected to be in 2019 with the wine released after three years’ lees ageing, as per Taittinger NV. This would mean the first bottles could be released in 2023.

The name Evremond relates to Charles de Saint-Evremond, a Frenchman who who was a connoisseur of Champagnes and an ambassador for Champagne in the UK in the late 1600s.