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Regions

Comprehensive description of all European growing areas, their grape varieties, traditions and legal rules with maps.

Wine regions in Netherlands 2 growing regions

Description to Netherlands

Holland (the heartland of today's Netherlands) had great influence on the spirits and wine trade in the late Middle Ages. From the end of the 16th century, Holland rose to become the leading maritime power far ahead of England, France, Portugal and Spain. Around 1650, Holland had the largest merchant fleet in the world with around 10,000 ships. Alcoholic beverages were bought everywhere in Europe and transported by ships to the colonies in North America, the Dutch Indies (Indonesia), New Zealand and Tasmania. Likewise, the Dutch were the main suppliers to the European countries. The port of Rotterdam developed into a main transhipment centre for wine. The Dutch were great masters of distillation and produced huge quantities of genever (grain wine) and brandewijn (brandy), which was used either neat or as an addition to wine and drinking water. The resulting shelf life was a prerequisite for the long sea voyages.

Niederlande - Ankunft auf Java - Weinberg unterhalb von Schloss Neercanne bei Maastricht

Influence on European viticulture

As a result, the spriting of wines such as Malaga, Madeira, Port and Sherry became popular. The triumph of cognac is also due to the Dutch, who inspired the winegrowers of the Charente to distil their wine. The English contributed to its perfection by importing cognac in large quantities and setting certain quality standards. In order to increase the supply of popular wines, blending with simple wines was practised excessively. The Dutch also adapted quickly and flexibly to consumer demands. When the demand for sack (fortified wines from Spain) and sweet wines increased in England in the 16th century, such wines were imported on a large scale from Spain, the Canary Islands, the Portuguese island of Madeira and the Greek island of Crete. As a result, Holland played a significant role in the development of certain types of wine and acquired extensive knowledge regarding storage, transport and trade. Due to their special knowledge of this technique, it was also the Dutch who drained the swamps in the French Médoc in the middle of the 17th century and created the basis for the rapid upswing in viticulture. There is evidence of viticulture in the southern province of Limburg from 1324.

Viticulture in the Netherlands

The introduction of beer, the deteriorating climate in the wake of the Little Ice Age, phylloxera and the conquest of the Netherlands by Napoleon (1769-1821) virtually destroyed viticulture, but the last vineyard near Maastricht was not abandoned until 1946. It was then revived on a small scale in the late 1960s. There are the country wine areas(PG I) Drenthe, Flevoland, Friesland, Gelderland, Groningen, Limburg, Noord-Brabant, Noord-Holland, Overijssel, Utrecht, Zeeland and Zuid-Holland as well as the two quality wine areas(PDO) Mergelland and Maasvallei Limburg (cross-border together with Belgium). Important grape varieties are Auxerrois, Chardonnay, Gewürztraminer, Müller-Thurgau, Riesling, Pinot Gris, Pinot Blanc and Pinot Noir. Due to their low alcohol content, the wines usually have to be fortified. The best-known winery in Belgium is Apostelhoeve near Maastricht. However, the demand for wine is covered by imports, mainly from Germany. Viticulture could gain in importance due to climate change.

Arrival Java: From Levinus Hulsius, Public domain, Link
Vineyard: By Pivos, CC BY-SA 3.0, Link

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