Twenty years of Belgian bubbles
Ruffus, a sparkling white wine produced in Belgium, is celebrating its 20th anniversary: a great success story!
The Vineyard des Agaises, in the village of Haulchin (province of Hainaut), now covers 35 hectares. Originally, its founder Raymond Leroy had only two exploitable hectares at his disposal before launching himself into the crazy challenge of placing Belgium on the map of the best vineyards in the world.
As is often the case, it was a wonderful chance meeting that allowed this Binche native to achieve his ambition. In 2001, at a party, he met local farmer Etienne Delbeke. Over a few glasses of beer, they worked out a plan for the gradual expansion of Raymond Leroy's small estate.
The decision to produce a sparkling white wine seemed obvious to the two partners. As their terroir was comparable to that of Champagne with a chalky vein giving the wine a very light, mineral taste, the chances of success were inevitably higher than for the production of a red.
The first harvest only allowed the production of around one thousand bottles. But in terms of taste, the result was such that they produced 30,000 the following season. Ruffus then won a medal at the Concours Mondial de Bruxelles. In the wake of this, the brand's reputation now means that Ruffus can be found on the menus of prestigious restaurants.
Today, 350,000 bottles are produced each year. In the short term, there is still room for growth by expanding the Vineyard des Agaises.
But in the eyes of its fans, it is better to choose quality over quantity!