Kent wine maker: Domaine Evremond
PUBLISHED: 16:33 08 October 2018
Thomas Alexander Photography
We speak to Patrick McGrath at Domaine Evremond about the winery’s place as one of Kent’s top wine producers
How did you get started in the industry?
My father worked in wine for many years and became a Master of Wine. 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. From there I got seduced by the world of Champagne and worked on Bollinger for three 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 shoebox 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.
Describe a typical day
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.
The most hands-on element of your job?
Making the tea!
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.
Tell us something surprising about yourself
I’m 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!
Favourite wine and food pairing?
I eat and drink anything and am a self-confessed wine and food pairing luddite. I leave that to the experts.
Describe yourself in three words
Impulsive, a grafter, organised.
What is special about your brand?
Domaine Evremond will always have a special place in English Sparkling Wine history; it’s 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.
What distinguishes your vineyard?
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.
What do you envisage for English wines in the next five 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 being recognised by wine drinkers and critics alike. There are lots of exciting, pioneering stories to tell. It won’t be without its 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.