A NEW sparkling wine is set to bear the famous Taittinger name - and it will be entirely made in England.
The champagne house has bought 69 hectares of land that was once an apple orchard near Chilham in Kent.
The first 40 hectares will be planted with chardonnay, pinot noir and pinot meunier vines in 2017. Taittinger said it hopes to fill its first bottles in five years.
The new wine will be named Domaine Évremond, after Charles de Saint-Évremond, who was credited with introducing cosmopolitan 17th-century London to champagne.
Pierre-Emmanuel Taittinger, president of Champagne Taittinger, said of the £4million investment: “We believe we can produce a high-quality English sparkling wine, drawing upon on our 80 years of winemaking expertise.
“Our aim is to make something of real excellence in the UK’s increasingly temperate climate.”
Taittinger is not the first French winemaker to look across the Channel. In 2012, Avize champagne maker Didier Pierson, of the Pierson-Whitaker house, bottled his first sparkling wine using grapes from vines planted in Hampshire.
He already produced hundreds of thousands of bottles from his 10 hectares of vines in Avize, Champagne, but his expansion plans were thwarted by the price of land there.
In 2008, when he bought the land in England, he said that one hectare cost thousands of euro, compared to as much as €1million in Champagne. "The French think I'm crazy," he admitted at the time.