Renowned Champagne maker Taittinger has added some fizz to the British wine business with a major investment, snapping up land in Kent to produce sparkling wine.
Along with fellow unnamed investors, Taittinger has bought 40 hectares of farmland to grow Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier, a "multi-million pound" investment over the next decade, it said.
The vineyards will produce a sparkling wine called Domaine Evremond, with the first batch due in 2020 and a goal of making 300,000 bottles each year.
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"We have dreamt for a number of years of working with our dear friends in the UK," said Taittinger president Pierre Emmanuel Taittinger. "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."
It's thought to be the first time a French wine house has ventured into wine making across the channel. The investment, in which Taittinger holds a 55 per cent stake, comes amid a growing taste for domestic brands across Britain – particularly of the fizzy variety.
English vineyards have grown at a rate of 11 per cent over the last decade, according to the Wine and Spirit Trade Association, and they produce on average 6.3m bottles a year.
More than half of that is sparkling wine.