The Kemmelberg was already strategically important 450 years BC. At banquets and ceremonies alcoholic beverages were served by the then Celtic aristocracy. At that time this was mainly spiced mead or honey wine. Very exceptionally, wine was drunk from grapes, perhaps of Etruscan or Greek origin.
Witness of alcohol consumption are the large bronze mixing vessels (craters) found in Europe. Jean-Luc Putman, who carried out years of research on the Kemmelberg and the Celts, recently told us the following: "In the Celtic crater of the tomb of Vix, 1,500 bottles of wine can be found. The Celtic earthenware mixing vessels of the Kemmelberg were a little more modest but still good for a few hundred bottles of wine and more. The large vase of Vix was no less than 1.64 meters high and weighed empty more than 200 kg! The large mixing vessels of the Kemmelberg were a small meter high and weighed about 200 kg. “.
On the Kemmelberg a piece of gold confiscated from a ritual drinking horn, an ear and spout from an earthen jug as well as earthenware imitation of an Attic drinking bowl were found. They indicated the drinking of wine.
The Celts probably only stayed on the Kemmelberg for a century. After an interruption of a few turbulent centuries, trade with the Mediterranean world resumed. Gradually more wine was consumed in our regions and vines were planted in Southern Europe by the Celts themselves. The Celts then have their wine god Sucellus. From the second century BC the Celts started to drink wine en masse and to buy the Roman wine. The Celts became the most important customers of the rising Romans, who built their armies with all that money to finally conquer the Celts....
Be careful, because now we're making a big leap forward. Today Heuvelland is a recognised wine region. In and around Heuvelland more and more vineyards are beginning to appear: already about 45 hectares. Apparently certain grape varieties thrive better and better in our region. Is it possible that global warming is in the middle of that?
About 200,000 bottles of wine are now produced every year. These wines are getting better and better and have been able to take away prices at domestic and foreign wine fairs several times. Both white wine and red wine, still and sparkling wine, are produced. No, officially you can't call it "champagne" of course, but every wine connoisseur knows better. 😉
Did you know... there used to be a vineyard right behind today's Hostellerie Mont Kemmel ****? On a map of the track of a motocross (dating from the beginning of the sixties) is mentioned Wijngaard "Enclos Kemmel".
Vintage Heuvelland is a non-profit association that unites about twenty winegrowers. Every year, on August 15th to be precise, they organise the "Hillside Wine Festivities“. Have a look at their website to get an overview of all the connected wine domains. Many of those domains can be visited. A vineyard, in Boezinge close to Ypres, which can also be visited is the Vineyard 't Silver Cruys.
Hostellerie Mont Kemmel **** is one of the so-called Vintage Hill Country Ambassadors: you can come to us to taste some of these local wines (whether or not incorporated in a dish and tasted in our restaurant).
You can discover the Heuvelland vineyards by following one or the other route:
- Hillside wine route - buggy walk (3.8 km)
- Hillside Wine Route (30 km)
- Vintage Hill Country Cycle Route (24 km)
- Wine route Heuvelland (RouteYou, 85.9 km)
- Walk-and-Talk route around Entre-Deux-Monts (5.8 km)
- Cycle routes on the website of the Tourist Office Heuvelland: "Wine & Cycling“
- Book an original tour at www.wijntour.beExplore the region with a VW minibus
Need more info ? Also check out the videos below:
- “Wine in the Hill Country” - Reportage by Bart Casteleyn (January 2009, 6m 19s)
- “Terroir: top Belgian wines"(Tendens TV, February 6, 2016, 6m 40s)
- “The wine song" by Yves Bondue. It is the wine song of the musical narrative walk "Winter Wine" from Dranouter Centrum. (November 2015, 1m 19s)
- Interview Sobelino with "Winery Entre-Deux-Monts"(April 2019, 1m 53s)
- Promof movie "Winery Entre-Deux-Monts"(2015, 1m 31s)
- Reportage on Antenne 3 (French TV) with Martin Bacquaert of "Winery Entre-Deux-Monts"(November 2010, 2m 6s)