While farmers across the Netherlands are taking extra measures to keep their crops hydrated, the prolonged dry spell in the Netherlands is a blessing for Dutch wine producers.
Translation by Traci White
Peter Pels, a wine producer in the Drenthe town of Havelte says that the arid weather means the grapes are growing like weeds. “We’ve got the perfect balance of rain and sun. The vines are growing ten to 15 centimetres a day.”
The weather has been so dry for so long that there wildfire warnings have been issued, extra water has been added to local lakes and earthen dikes and quays are being artificially soaked to keep them from cracking. The dry and sunny conditions have been ideal for growing grape vines.
But if the summer heat is not broken up by some decent rainfall soon, then the wine producers will also have to take matters into their own hands. Pels told RTV Drenthe, “If the warm spell lasts too long, then the plants will stop growing. I think we are just about at that point now. The grapes have to deepen in colour and get bigger: otherwise, it will be a bad harvest.”
Extremely cold weather earlier this year meant that Pels had to artificially warm up the plants with a hair dryer-like device to protect them from freezing. Conditions have been good this summer, but Pels does not want to celebrate prematurely. “One hail storm is all it takes to destroy the harvest. I’ll celebrate once the wine is in the barrels.”
Pels and his wife Winie started their vineyard back in 2005, where they currently grow around 2,300 vines. According to their website, Wijngoed Havelte (Havelte Winery) grows regent, VB 91-26-5, Solaris, Johanitter, Graubourgunder (Pinot Gris), Souvignier gris and Cabernet Cantor grapes.
Dutch wine industry
The wine industry remains small in the Netherlands, but it is growing. According to NU.nl, the vast majority of Dutch vineyards are located in the southern provinces of Limburg, Brabant and Gelderland, but there are a handful of growers in the northern provinces. As of 2016, there were 134 commercial wineries in the Netherlands which produced around 1.1 million bottles of wine.
Photo source: Joachim Schmid/Wikipedia