Taittinger’s Domaine Evremond gets approval for wineryBy Phoebe French
Champagne Taittinger’s English winery, Domaine Evremond, is one step closer to commercial operation having secured planning permission for its winery and visitor centre.
The winery, due to be constructed near Chilham in Kent within the North Downs Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB), is a joint venture between Champagne house Taittinger and its UK importer Hatch Mansfield.
Domaine Evremond has received planning permission for a two-floor 1,390sqm winery building and visitor centre. Visitors will be able to book appointments to explore the facility, while the dedicated visitor centre will be housed on the top-floor with views across the vineyards.
Two-thirds of the building will be below ground, according to the planning documents published by Ashford Borough Council.
The plans include dedicated areas for wine storage and different winemaking processes, as well as bottling, labelling and packaging units. There will also be parking spaces for 32 cars.
On completion, the site will be capable of producing 400,000 bottles a year. The team is estimating that the total build will take around 16 months, but a start date for the project has yet to be confirmed.
After discussions with the local authority, the original plans have been adapted so that the building will now have a “chalk grassland roof”, with a brick façade that blends in with the surroundings.
Domaine Evremond planted its first vines (20 hectares of Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Meunier) in May 2017. Last year it planted an additional 8.5 hectares of vines, consisting of 60% Pinot Noir and 40% Chardonnay, bringing the total area under vine to 28.5 hectares. Further plantings were also carried out this year.
The Taittinger family acquired the 224-acre Domaine Evremond estate, a former fruit farm, in autumn 2015. It was the first Champagne house to plant vines in the UK, closely followed by Champagne Pommery.
There are now a total of 18 vineyards within Ashford Borough Council, including four of the seven wineries which are part of the tourism initiative Wine Garden of England.
Patrick McGrath, managing director at Hatch Mansfield, said: “We can confirm that Domaine Evremond has received planning permission to build a winery and visitor centre in Chilham. This marks a key milestone for us and the long journey that started five years ago continues as we work through the process with further approvals to follow and different stages of work to be completed before building can commence at the wine estate. This is all very good news and there is plenty more work to be done.”