Burgon & Ball, the UK’s longest-established manufacturer of garden tools and accessories, has helped world-famous Champagne house Taittinger make history by providing the spades to break first ground at a new vineyard in Kent – the first planting in the UK by a Grande Marque Champagne house.
The groundbreaking ceremony took place in early May 2017, with a view to producing premium English sparkling wines from the Domaine Evremond site near Chilham in Kent. To ensure the planting went smoothly, Burgon & Ball supplied spades, specially engraved to mark the occasion, and commemorative trowels were also engraved.
Champagne Taittinger approached Burgon & Ball after a recommendation from the Royal Horticultural Society, perhaps the world’s most famous authority on gardening. The aptly-named Groundbreaker spade was selected for the ceremony; the high performance stainless steel design received the House Beautiful Best Garden Product award in 2016.
The historic first UK vines were planted by Pierre-Emmanuel Taittinger (far left), president of Champagne Taittinger, accompanied by his wife and daughter, and representatives from Taittinger’s UK agency and partner Hatch Mansfield. In addition, over 200 guests planted their own vines with their individually numbered souvenir trowels. Both the spades and the trowels performed very well on this task, despite the inclement weather, which brought chilly and wet conditions.
Pierre-Emmanuel Taittinger says: “Our aim is to make something of real excellence in the UK, and not to compare it with Champagne or any other sparkling wine. We are very excited that this dream is now becoming a reality.”
Heather Culpan, managing director of Burgon & Ball says: “It’s wonderful that Champagne Taittinger and its partners are embarking upon this project to create new premium English sparkling wines, with an outstanding French heritage. We are thrilled that our beautiful Groundbreaker spades have been able to play a small part in the day.”
The Groundbreaker spade has a sharp pointed head that easily slides past any roots, stones or other unseen obstacles in the ground, making digging easy, even in the most challenging soil. The polished stainless steel finish of the Groundbreaker’s head offers superb rust resistance, while the double riveted ‘Y’ handle and strapped socket give strength far in advance of the British standard.
The new Domaine Evremond site has a combination of chalk soils, climate and topography perfect for grape growing, and will be ideal for producing quality sparkling wine. The new vineyard will see a total of 40 hectares planted with Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier vines over the next two to three years. The first English sparkling wine produced at the site should be released for drinking in 2023, after three years of ageing in the bottle. Read more about the new vineyard at www.domaineevremond.com.