The 1e site about Dutch Vineyards.
By: Gerard M.W. Koning
First and formoste I welcome our foreign visitors and invite you to discover the Dutch vineyards
It is widely known that wine-growing was already some centuries ago taking place in Holland (according to information found back to 968 there was wine growing in the south of the Netherlands), especially during the Roman Period. Influenced by politics (think at time of Napoleon) , but also due to the vine-pest, dactylosphaera vitifolii (previously known as phylloxera vastatrix), in large parts of Europe and also Holland large vineyards were closed which caused an end to wine-growing in several areas.
By grafting European vines on an American stem, new races of vines were made being vine disease resistant. This started a new flourishing wine-culture on several locations. This did not happen at that time to Holland, wine-growing remained low profile until the eighties.
Holland isn’t a great wine country pre-eminently, but there is a number of very promising wine-growers that make a very special wine in our challenging climate. A number of the wine-growers even give classes on how to make wine, a challenge for everyone who’s not only interested in reading about wine.
Perseverence, crafstmanship and cogency was needed to start wine-growing in the Netherlands after the vine-pest. By selecting vines capable of resisting our tough climate these pioneers have made fantastic wines. A good example of this stamina are the brother Jo and Wim Kanders from Meijl. They found out in 1982 after some experiments that wine-growing was possible in the northern of Limburg, a province in the South of Holland. In Helden (closeby to Meijl) they planted a few thousand vines of rivaner, a South-Tirol (Switserland) originated cross-fertilization of Sylvaner and riesling, resistant to temperatures as low as -25 °C ! Results were above expectations with the vines growing well on the sand soil of Northern Limburg. At this moment, 24 years later, a professionly tasty and fruity wite wine is produced, reminding of a good Elzasser white wine. This wine recently was marked as ‘exclusive’ at the world wining conference, indicating the qualitu of this Dutch wine.
In 1998 Elkandré bought 1 hectare of land en planted it with kerner. From May until October it is possible to have a tour from a well-trained guide which will also include wine tasting. A big part of the vintage of 1998 is used to make a sparkling wine (Champagne) for the turn of the millenium.
Ineresting to know that the oldest vineyard in the Netherlands is Apostelhoeve in Limburg, founded in 1970. Planted area approximately 6 hectare
Many of the vineyards are being started with passion and pioneering spirit, which is typically Dutch. Due to the climate it is a challenge to grow a good wine. Our government isn’t supporting wine-growing with subsidy, on the contrary, tax is being paid for self-made wine.
At the moment there are more than 170 professional (commercial) wine-growers and the halve of them are growing a vine-yard of at least 1 hectare. With the current growth it is estimated that in 2012 there will be approximately 250 hectares planted according to 190 professional Dutch wine-growers. 202.5 hectare (500.6 acres) is now (2011) in hands of 200 wine-growers, having an output of 1.170.000 bottles of wine. Quality of both red and white is increasing constantly.
Due to the global warming the critical line for producing wine has shifted 350 km north. This makes it possible to use the right kind of vines and using the proper cultivation methode for producing a good wine. The average hours of sun in Holland is between 1400 and 1700 hours a year.
At this moment there are only a couple of vineyards in the Northern part of Holland. This is a very experimental wine, since it takes a lot of skills to make a good wine.
There are a couple of vineyards growing from hotbed. This is especially needed for tradional vines since they need more warmth to ripe.
Both red as white wines are worth drinking. Especially white wines are of a high quality. Also blushwines are great in a hot warm summer. No heavy wines are made in holland, but there are wines with enough ‘body’. Since everybody has its own taste, tasting is really the only way to be sure for yourself. Also the relaxed, enjoyable, calm surrounding and enthousiastic winegrower talking about his/her wines is of great importance.
Most of the wines can be bought directly at the vine-yard. In the south of holland you can try the wines from that specific area in several restaurants. Bigger vine-yard also sell wines to specialized retailers.
Ad Your vineyard so visiters can find You on the Internet.