Belgium may already have a well established reputation for its successful beer industry, but it seems the Belgian wine industry also on the up. According to Focus on Belgium, the sector is growing year by year both in prestige and quality, with the the country having recorded a 25% increase in the number of winemakers, from 154 in 2019 to 198 in 2020.
1. An old tradition seeing a revival
Although Belgian abbeys produced wine as early as the 9th century, for a long time the vines were left uncultivated and it took until recent years for the old tradition to get a revival. There is now once again an interest in Belgian vineyards, and whilst Flanders has the most winegrowers and the most cultivated hectares, with 326 to Wallonia’s 260, it is the latter which produces the most wine. Out of a total of 1,853,034 litres produced, 1,003,059 litres were produced in Wallonia.
2. A speciality
Belgium’s light white wines and sparkling wines are particularly exceptional, the specialities of Belgian winemakers being Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, as in Champagne and Burgundy. The country’s leading prestigious label is the Ruffus, a sparkling white with a low sugar content, originating from the Binche region and holding its own against champagnes. It was winner of the gold medal at the Brussels World Wine Competition.
3. Appellations d’Origine Contrôlée
However, another attraction for oenologists and wine lovers is Belgium’s six AOCs (Appellations d’Origine Contrôlée), a label that gives a wine production a reputation and greater credibility with consumers. These are Hagelandsewijn Haspengouwsewijn, Heuvellandsewijn, Côtes de Sambre et Meuse, Vins des Jardins de Wallonie and lastly, Crémant de Wallonie.
4. Something new
The country’s capital is also home to the first urban winery in Belgium, Gudule Winery. Located in Brussels Gudule offers a red, a white and a rosé as well as two special cuvées and a sparkling wine. Belgium’s wine industry certainly offers plenty of choice, and it seems this is only going to increase in future.