Grown in South Friesland, the grapes will be turned into wine by December
Translated by Thomas Ansell
As reported by the Omrop Fryslân, it’s not just the south of France, the mountains of Chile, and the plains of Spain that produce wine- Friesland does too! Monday is the last day of picking at the De Heidepleats winery in Sint Nicolaasga (Gemeente De Fryske Marren).
The first step in picking the grapes is removing the huge nets that protect the vines from pests and birds. In total De Heidepleats has 2,000 vines, most of which have already been harvested. Around 600 will have their grapes plucked today, and the season will be over.
“What’s still hanging there is one breed of grape that is the last of our four breeds to be harvested”, says Jântsje Hoogkamp, “the grapes really need a long time to gain the correct ripeness”.
The picking will be done by an army of volunteers, most of whom have some link to the winery. The grapes will then be sent to the Twente region in the east of the Netherlands for bottling, and will then come back to Friesland for sale. The grapes picked today for white wine will be turned into wine within two months, however red wine requires a longer production process- and that wine will take six months to achieve the right taste.
De Heidepleats wines are both red and white: “there is sometimes a bit of a denigration of red wine by people, which is unfortunate. Red wine is more tricky to make, and you need the grapes to be exposed to more sun. That’s naturally a bit more difficult here compared to France, but we do make really lovely Red wine here in Friesland”, says Hoogkamp.
For every grape vine, about one and a half bottles result. “We sell most of the wine ourselves, and use it for tours and tastings. And we’ve got a number of hotels and restaurants that buy our wine too. It’s a really good pairing for their local ingredients”, says Hoogkamp.