The success of the Hageland growers in such a northern position is partly due to the position of the vineyards on the hills. The soil mainly consists of sand and ferruginous underlying layers. Hageland would not have achieved success though without the persistence of a handful of ‘wine freaks’ who decided to blow new life into the area. Their dream was realised 28 years later when Hageland’s AC status was recognised in 1997 by the European Court. Unfortunately Hageland AC will never become more than a small scale hobby that has got out of control. Most of the domains are too small and unable to cope with the increasing demand from the local catering establishments and individual customers. There were nine recognised growers in Hageland at the end of 1997.
These are Hageling of Tienen, Wijnhoeve Boschberg of Scherpenheuvel, Wijnhoeve Elzenbosch and Wijnkelder Kluisberg of Assent, Hagelander of Rillaar, Dox Wijn of Halen, Domein Sire Pynnock (perhaps the best) of Louvain, and Wijngoed St. Denis of Tielt-Winge.
Other Belgian wine areas
Wine is also made in other parts of the Belgian province of Brabant in addition to Hageland at De Wijngaerd and Wijngaard Kartuizerhof at Borgloon, Soniënwijn Cellars in Overijse), and elsewhere in Limburg at Wijnkasteel Genoels-Elderen at Riemst (who make a surprisingly good Chardonnay), and in Wallonia (French speaking Belgium) on a tip of a former coal mine at Château de Trazégnies at the town of Trazégnies under the smoke clouds of Charleroi.
These Belgian vineyards are all of recent origin and no more than 20 years old, some not yet 10 years old. It will not be possible to pass judgement on Belgian wines for a few more years yet.
Most growers use fairly logical choices of grapes for such northerly latitudes in Müller-Thurgau , Pinot Blanc, Pinot Gris, Auxerrois, Kemer, Riesling, and Sieger for white Belgium wines and Pinot Noir, Gamay, and Domfelder for reds. Experiments with Chardonnay that is accustomed to warmer climes have been encouraging in places. A drinkable sparkling Belgian wine is also made at the Sonienwijn cellars.