Share article:
Share article:

Belgium’s wineries predict a very good year for 2019

A vineyard in Torgny in Luxembourg province, the southernmost place in Belgium © Jean-Pol Grandmont/Wikimedia

Belgium’s wine producers are predicting a good year for 2019’s wine harvest, albeit not as good as last year, according to the trade association, reports the VRT.

Last year’s warm summer saw a record production of two million litres of wine. This year also had a warm and dry summer, and production is expected to be 10% to 15% lower than 2018 – but that’s still a lot better than the average year for Belgian producers.

At the same time, the quality is excellent, reports Lodewijk Waes, president of the Belgian Winemakers’ association, which represents 85% of the industry. In particular, the crop of sparkling wine.

The happens thanks to the dry and warm weather we had until mid-September, which meant there were no fugal illnesses. And the sugars in the grapes were able to develop well. The early grape varieties were harvested at the beginning of September in perfect conditions, with sugar and acidity levels as close to perfect as can be.”

Grape varieties for other red and white wines went on after that to mature further, and changeable weather from mid-September meant those grapes finished maturing in less than perfect conditions. Still, given the perfect weather earlier in the growing season, 2019 will turn to be a “better than average year,” Waes said.

Another factor is the development both of the vines and in the experience and know-how of the producers in what is, after all, a relatively young industry.

Belgian wine producers have also invested heavily in recent years in modern techniques,” Waes said. “That means for example double-walled barrels which can be cooled, or more modern pressing installations.”

Despite healthy production figures, Belgian wine remains more expensive than wine from other countries, for two main reasons: the higher excise duty and wage costs in Belgium; and the fact that Belgium does not enjoy the consistently good weather found in producing countries like Italy and Spain, which allows their growers to maximise their output.

Belgium now has about 380 hectares of land under vines, up from 40 hectares a decade ago, and has plans to increase to 1,000 hectares in the near future. The EU as a whole has about three million hectares of vineyards, dominated by Spain, France and Italy, accounting for 74.1% of the total (Source: Eurostat, 2015 figures). It produces mainly sparkling and white wine, with a smaller amount of red, while rosé makes up only a tiny share of the market.

Alan Hope
The Brussels Times

Latest news

EU Digital Covid Certificate becomes an international success story
The European Commission adopted on Monday a report on the EU Digital Covid Certificate and its implementation across the EU. According to the ...
Belgian chocolatier agrees to $15 million settlement over misled consumers allegations
Internationally recognised Belgian chocolate manufacturer Godiva has reached a $15 million (€12.9 million) settlement after US consumers said they ...
‘Buying second home does not mean you are rich’: government disagrees on tax break
The Francophone liberal MR party and the Flemish socialist Vooruit party strongly disagree on the current scheme for tax benefits on people's second ...
EMA starts evaluating Pfizer vaccine for children over 5 years old
The European Medicines Agency (EMA) has started evaluating an application to extend the use of the Pfizer/BioNTech coronavirus vaccine to children ...
Energy prices: EU’s demand and supply dilemma in importing natural gas
The European Commission adopted last week a plan on how to tackle the rise in global energy prices in the short-term while relying on the transition ...
Tram line and cycle path to connect Brussels’ outskirts to airport
Works on a tram line connecting Brussels, the NATO headquarters and Brussels Airport in Zaventem, which could attract up to 10,000 passengers a day, ...
SKYFALL: European police complete counter-drone training in Antwerp
In a joint project between Belgium’s federal police and the Brussels Capital Ixelles Policing Area, 15 European police officers visited Antwerp to ...
Offshore wind farms could help reach climate neutrality by 2050
A study carried out by the Bureau fédérale du Plan (BFP) – an independent Belgian organisation that investigates questions of environmental and ...
Will Brussels bounce back?
The lockdowns have tested the city and forced it to confront key questions about its future. Derek Blyth looks back at an extraordinary moment in our ...
STIB launches free transport for Museum Night Fever this weekend
STIB buses will run between Brussels museums for free on Saturday night as part of the Museum Night Fever celebrations taking over the capital.  ...
Heirs of Michael Jackson demand that Belgian radio show ‘King of Pop’ changes name
The heirs of American pop singer Michael Jackson have demanded that a Belgian radio programme, called "King of Pop" changes its name, their lawyers ...
More than one billion coronavirus vaccines exported by EU
The European Union (EU) has exported more than one billion coronavirus vaccines globally over the past ten months, of which just under one-tenth was ...