Domaine Evremond - Patrick McGrath
“Rooted in friendship, with a desire and commitment to produce the very best that we can from what Mother Nature provides, Domaine Evremond is at the very beginning of its exciting journey which blends skills and experience, united by passion. We invite you to share our journey to our first bottle.”
How did you get started in the industry?
My initial love of the wine industry came from an early beginning. My father worked in wine for many years and became a Master of Wine (MW). I started my days in retail in the old Victoria Wine shops as a sales assistant and eventually made it to head office buying which I loved - being introduced to so many producers and wines from far flung places. From there I got seduced by the world of Champagne and worked on Bollinger for 3 years where one of my claims to fame was signing up Ab Fab (sorry Taittinger!) However it was always the business side of wine that I had a huge interest in and in 1994 I set up Hatch Mansfield with Louis Jadot and Errazuriz. At that time we also represented Villa Maria and there were three of us working out of a shoe box office in Windsor. In 1998 we struck up a relationship with Taittinger and the rest, as they say, is history. Hatch Mansfield now employs 44 people and represents 16 top producers from around the world in the UK.
What does a typical day at work look like for you?
I don’t think I have ever had a typical day. I love it, every day is totally different. I spend a lot of time travelling – mainly to see customers but also producers and most recently a lot of time on the M25 and M20 with our exciting venture in Kent. I can be doing anything from packing boxes, to selling and hosting wine dinners, to the very serious high finance stuff and of late, even digging and planting vines.
What is the most hands-on element of your job?
Making the Tea!
What is your proudest achievement to date?
There have to be two… first setting up Hatch Mansfield, and now Domaine Evremond with my dear friend Pierre Emmanuel Taittinger.
If you didn't do this, what do you think you would be doing?
Active service in the Army or a Mountain Guide. I love the mountains.
Tell us something surprising about yourself.
I am very dyslexic. My team think I am a great public speaker but little do they know I could never do it from a script. It comes straight from the heart… and it can get me into trouble sometimes!
If you could share a bottle of wine with anyone in the world, who would it be (and why)?
George Mallory and a bottle of Red Burgundy with all that finesse and delicacy. It is what very great wine is all about; understated elegance. We could talk for hours about his mountaineering adventures and I could find out if he ever made it to the top of Everest with Andrew ‘Sandy’ Irvine.
Describe your favourite wine and food pairing.
Anyone that knows me, knows that I eat and drink anything and am a self-confessed wine and food pairing luddite. I leave that to the experts.
What is your favourite place you've visited?
West Wales without hesitation or deviation.
Describe yourself in three words.
Impulsive, a grafter and organised.
What is special/unique about your brand?
Domaine Evremond will always have a special place in English Sparkling Wine History – it is a unique collaboration marking the first time that a Champagne house has planted a vineyard in the UK to produce premium English Sparkling Wine. A joint venture between independent, family run companies - Champagne Taittinger and their UK agents Hatch Mansfield and very much a project between firm friends.
As Pierre Emmanuel Taittinger, President of Champagne Taittinger states “We dreamed for a number of years of working with our dear friends in the UK to create a special Franco/British project. Built on the values of friendship, this venture aims to create something special to show our appreciation of the UK support for Champagne – it is Champagne Taittinger’s number one export market. We are truly excited that this dream is becoming a reality.”
What distinguishes your vineyard from the others in the partnership?
We have only just planted our first vines, in 2017 to be precise. We are very much at the beginning of our wine making journey.
Domaine Evremond is in an area of outstanding natural beauty (an AONB) and is on the doorstep of Chilham Village which oozes quintessential Kent. We are very blessed with our location – perfect soils, aspect and a chocolate box Kent village with its own castle!
What do you envisage for the development of English wines within the international marketplace in the next 5 years?
It is a truly young industry – we are spoilt, there is so much potential and it is very much a case of where to start. Currently demand exceeds supply, a nice position to be in but also a difficult one as we have to decide where to start? What are the priorities? We are capturing the imagination of customers and the quality is there and it is being recognised by wine drinkers and critics alike. There are lots of exciting, pioneering stories to tell. It won’t be without it’s challenges for certain, but the opportunity is immense. In the next five years strong brands will evolve and establish themselves. Wine drinkers will start to experience the diversity of styles and will be able to come and see it for themselves with the emerging wine tourism and all that has to offer. We are at the beginning of something very exciting.