In the 9th century, under Emperor Charlemagne (742-814), monks in what is now southern Belgium cultivated wine. Along the Meuse (which was also an important transport route) there were vineyards around the towns of Antwerp, Brabant, Hainaut, Liège and Naumur. Even in the early Middle Ages, wines from Flanders (today the two Belgian provinces of East and West Flanders, the remaining part being in France) were highly valued and were the centre of the Northern European wine trade. In the 15th century, due to climatic changes associated with the Little Ice Age and competition from Burgundy, viticulture was abandoned.
In the 1970s, vineyards were planted again for the first time. These are located in Aarschot in the Flemish Hageland and Huy near Liège. There is even a quality wine area (PDO) called Maasvallei Limburg (shared with the Netherlands). Fifteen grape varieties are authorised, including the white wine varieties Auxerrois, Chardonnay, Müller-Thurgau, Pinot Gris and Optima, and the red wine variety Pinot Noir. Table grapes such as Leopold III are grown in greenhouses. In 2012, the vineyard area covered 30 hectares with a wine production volume of 3,000 hectolitres. Mainly dry white wines are produced. The Belgian wine demand is mainly covered by imports from France.