When people think of wine they don't always make the connection with the Netherlands. It might surprise some that this little country actually has a long history of wine making.
Going back in time, the earliest Dutch vineyards were introduced about 200 AD by the Romans in the Maastricht region. After the fall of the Roman Empire occurred only a few European monasteries continued the tradition of preserving the wine making craft.
Around 1000 AD the culture of wine making started to make a revival in medieval Netherlands and 500 years later it reached its peak. Unfortunately this was short lived. A century later the region became too cold to continue growing grapes due to a sudden climate shift called the "little ice age". Along with the upcoming popularity of beer and the heavy taxes enforced by Napoleon on non-French wines, the Dutch wine industry completely faded away from existence.
It wasn't until the late 1960s that a small vineyard in Maastricht again revived interest in the local wine culture. This small initiative inspired more people across the country to start growing their own vineyards. With the introduction of better mold resistant varieties of grapes, a new renaissance of local wine culture started to bloom.
Today there are about 150 different wineries in the Netherlands of which 22 are in Limburg. Progressively, more Dutch wines keep scoring higher nationally, as well as internationally. One of the secrets to the Dutch wine production is the use of new and improved varieties of grapes produced by German agriculture scientist; ones that survive the colder climates and are resistant against the notorious mildew fungus.
Because of these new characteristics little pesticide is needed, so people can safely enjoy the white wines, red wines, rosé and the sparkling wines produced by the locals with passion and renewed pride.
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