If the climatic conditions have long favored the brewing of beer, the ingenuity of Belgian winemakers contributes to the creation of fresh and subtle wines, designed in accordance with their soils and environment.
Not only a beer country
A brief history of the vineyard
You probably see Belgium as the Beer Country. And yet, Belgium used to produce a lot of wine in the Middle Ages, just like most European countries.
Vines appeared quite early in Belgium, during the 8th century.
Viticulture was actually so important during the 14th century, that most Belgian towns had their own vineyards. And today many street names refer to this golden age in the country.
But because of the quite harsh climate, beer brewing was given preference in the 15th century.
In the 1980’s a wind of change rose on Belgian vineyards.
Flanders was the first region to be granted a Belgian PDO in 1997, in Hageland.
In 2004, it was the turn of Wallonia, with the Côtes de Sambre et Meuse PDO.
In 2021, Belgium counted 5 PDOs and 4 PGIs.
As climate change is gradually moving northwards the limit where viticulture can take place, it gets easier to produce quality wines in the country, although late spring frosts and heavy rainfall remain major risks for the vineyards.
Of the 70 grape varieties found in Belgium, 34 are identified in the Belgian appellations.
The main varieties grown in Belgium are: Pinot noir, Chardonnay, Müller-Thurgau, Pinot gris, Auxerrois, Pinot blanc, Sieger, Dornfelder, Muscats, Riesling, Solaris and Gerwürztraminer.
The country mainly produces sparkling wines (48% of volumes), especially in Wallonia, and white wines (32%), with smaller quantities of red and rosé (20%).
The Belgian vineyard is very northern.
Two options were presented to the Belgian wine growers: either to plant French grape varieties adapted to the northern vineyards such as Chardonnay or Pinot Noir, or to plant interspecific grape varieties, often developed in Germany and created in order to allow the cultivation of the vine in a colder and wetter climate (grape varieties with poetic names such as Helios, Solaris, Regent…).
Of course, as in the neighboring vineyards of Luxembourg or Germany, white wines are the majority of the production. Special emphasis is put on sparkling wines produced in traditional method.
The surface area of the Belgian vineyard represented a little more than 440 hectares in 2019.
Extent of the vineyard
In 2019, Belgian vineyards extend over 440 hectares.
DISCOVER OUR SELECTION OF BELGIAN WINES
Château Bon Baron Auxerrois
Schorpion – Zwart Brut Nature Méthode Traditionnelle
Genoels-Elderen Chardonnay Blauw
Aldeneyck Pinot Noir Maaseik