Discovering the wine region of Belgium
The Belgian market is one of the most successful in France/bordeaux">Bordeaux, and has also played a key role in dictating the 1855 classifications of the Médoc and Graves. Many of the great estates in Bordeaux are - or have been - owned by Belgian wine merchants. For example, one branch of the Flemish Thienpoint family (Jacques) owns Le Pin, while another (his cousin Alexandre) owns Vieux Château Certan.
Despite this strong focus on cereal-based drinks, Belgium also has a number of vineyards.
Its annual wine production would easily fit into a single storage Tank in one of the largest vineyards in Australia or the United States, and has not yet been exported on any scale. Most of the wine produced in Belgium is made by individuals for home consumption.
The white Grape varieties preferred by Belgian winemakers are Chardonnay and Pinot Gris from across the border in France, and Kerner, Optima and Muller-Thurgau from neighbouring Germany. The few red wines produced are from a handful of Pinot Noir and Dornfelder grapes.
The meeting point of the Moselle and Rhine, two of Europe's great wine rivers, Lies just 80 kilometres east of Belgium's eastern border. It is a very close point, but on the other side of the Ardennes.
The Moselle forms the eastern border of Luxembourg, Belgium's small neighbour, whose per capita wine production is much higher. The capital of the Champagne region, Reims, is at the same distance from the southern border of Belgium.