It is becoming a trend: Viticulture in the Netherlands and with climate change it is expected that the Netherlands may become an important producer in the long term. We have a beautiful Dutch winery in our range, namely Wijngaard Bilderhof from Holland's oldest city Dordrecht. The winemaker Wilco Venhuizen has a beautiful vineyard and, unlike many Dutch hobbyists, has chosen to select grapes that do particularly well in our climate, such as the Dornfelder, the Rondo, the Cabernet Cortis and the Johnanniter. These grapes thrive in our climate and produce very unique white and red wines.
Wijngaard Bilderhof is the first vineyard in the Netherlands with a gold medal for both white and red wine. Click here for a youtube movie about the vineyard
It is believed that grapes have been grown in the Netherlands since Roman times as drinking wine was very common at that time. However, the oldest official mention of viticulture in the Netherlands only dates from 968. In the inventory list of Queen Gerberga van Saxony, some vineyards around Maastricht are described. It is not surprising that there were vineyards around Maastricht at that time. Despite its relatively northern location in relation to other wine regions, the region was very favorable due to the slopes and fertile loess soil.
Later in the Middle Ages, viticulture also spread to other parts of the Netherlands. This was due to the relatively warm climate at the time which benefited grape growing. In the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries, the hills around the Maasdal and Geuldal were largely covered with vines and Dutch viticulture was at its peak. This quickly changed after the viticulture got competition from beer. Because people started to add hops to beer, it kept longer and tasted better and beer consumption started to win out over wine consumption. After 1540 the climate in the Netherlands also changed, it became colder and from 1590 we entered a so-called Little Ice Age. As a result, and partly due to destruction during the Eighty Years' War, viticulture in the Netherlands was decimated. The final battle for viticulture came when the phylloxera and Napoleon made it impossible to grow wine in the Netherlands. The last vineyard around Maastricht died around 1946, but grape cultivation in the Netherlands had been marginalized for many years before that. Around the beginning of the 1970s, a lot changed for the better for viticulture in the Netherlands. At the time, a few entrepreneurs started planting new vineyards mainly in Limburg and North Brabant. Since that time there has been a steady, but increasingly rapid growth of viticulture in the Netherlands. Currently there are about 130 commercial vineyards in the Netherlands.