IWC winery tour
We started our journey by bike led by experienced cyclist, Rina Ruczynski. Rina led us through the forest en route to the winery in Chaam. Along the way she stopped and explained many of the local features of the Brabant area and even helped one of the members with her bike seat. (Tip-always remember to take a tool kit with you on long bike journeys).
We finally arrived at the winery and we were welcomed to Wijngaard Dassemus with our first taste of the day – a refreshing glass of rosé Parelwijn, a light and fruity sparkling wine. Owner and winemaker Ron Langeveld explained that he left his job in IT to pursue his dream of making Dutch wine. Trained in Germany, he follows modern winemaking traditions, rather than the more classical French approach.
On our walk around the vineyard, we heard that the vines are grown organically, fertilized with composted plant and organic waste. Weed control is mechanical – and quite a job considering that the vineyard is run by Ron with a handful of volunteers! In between the rows of vines, nitrogen-fixing plants (mainly clover and marigolds) are sown and then ploughed back periodically to enrich the soil quality. The grape varieties are mainly of German and Hungarian origin – chosen for their resistance to mildew and other fungal diseases, and for their ability to tolerate a cooler climate. The grapes are pressed and the wine is bottled on site, producing around 10,000 litres per year.
We returned to the beautifully converted barn to sample further wines:
Solaris: a dry white wine, crisp with a hint of grapefruit
Wijngaard Dessamus Rosé: a powerful rosé with red fruit and caramel tones
Brabants Rood: a fruity, fresh red wine
The wines were complimented by a selection of delicious local cheeses, including a goat’s cheese, brie and two cow’s milk cheeses: one plain and the other with fenugreek.
Our tour was informative and inspiring – it’s always good to meet someone who has changed their life to pursue a dream and has done so with great success!
Having purchased a few bottles, we hopped back on the bikes and cycled a short distance down the road for a very pleasant lunch at Het Smokkelaartje.
After lunch we were once again on our bikes. This time we travelled along the Mark River. At least the rain held out until we were almost home.