Organic wine making a name for itself in the land of beer
When we think of Belgium, we think of beer. But, however surprising it might seem, Belgium is producing more and more wine every year. Belgian organic wine has been thriving in recent times. This is demonstrated by the career change of Justine and Jean Galler, father and daughter from the famous Belgian chocolate company, and Sophie Wautier, a former psychologist who began producing organic wine in 2015.
Despite studying Management so she could take over the family business, Justine decided that that was not what she wanted to do. She realised that she definitely did not want a career and that her priority in life was to be a mother and have time to devote to her family. At that time, her father was planting a vineyard opposite her home near Chaudfontaine. She then left her job in the chocolate company and began to produce organic wine. They planted the first slopes together in 2009 and waited three years - the time needed to be able to pick the grapes - before their first harvest. In their family farm in Saintes, in the province of Walloon Brabant, former psychologist Sophie Wautier and her husband followed the same path, launching their project in 2015. The lightbulb moment? A visit to Austria, a country with a similar climate to ours where vines are grown in increasing numbers.
Their career change is by no means an isolated case. The production of organic wine may still be relatively new and uncommon, but it is quickly becoming more and more professional, particularly in Wallonia. In 2017, 17 hectares of vines were planted and declared for organic production, 14 of them in the province of Liège.
But this dedicated work comes at a cost. The price of a bottle of red wine (Gamay, Pinot Noir or Cabernet Franc) produced by Justine and Jean Galler ranges between 40 and 80 euros. A bottle of wine from Sophie Wautier's Domaine W, where she grows Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier, will be sold for around 25 euros. But we will have to wait until 2020 to enjoy it!