19. Amsterdam Vineyard

Vinyard De Amsteltuin

19. Amsterdam Vineyard

Vineyards, wine makers?

France, Spain, Italy, Germany, Argentina, Chile, California etc.?

Yeahh…also…

Amsterdam, near Schiphol airport.

Amsteltuin Vineyard, the best kept secret of Amsterdam,

PGK (Petroleum Geologische Kring, The Hague, the Netherlands) 40th  birthday was celebrated with a splendid summer excursion and appropriate educative oenology meeting, august 2018.

I wish to share a few of my notes, musings and pictures with you.

As a geologist it is of course about the geology and terroir of this area, and its relationship with the wines here produced.

Amsteltuin Vineyard has some 3500 grape vines, allowing for about 4000 bottles of different (4), excellent, mainly white wines. More information can be found on their site below indicated.

The  Netherlands has some 40 vineyards and wine makers that produce about 1 million bottles of good quality wine.

Vinyard De Amsteltuin
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Vineyard de Amsteltuin – Located near Amsterdam, Amstelveen and Schiphol airport. In a Dutch polder (Bovenkerkerpolder).
Vinyard De Amsteltuin
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Vineyard de Amsteltuin – Entrance.
Vinyard De Amsteltuin
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Vineyard de Amsteltuin – 4 excellent wines
Vinyard De Amsteltuin
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Vineyard de Amsteltuin – Petroleum Geologische Kring – Anniversary 40 years (1978 – 2018)- August 2018 – Geology and Wine, presentation by dr. Anko Lankreijer (not on the picture) of Amsterdam Geology College.
Geology Vinyard Surroundings
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Geology de Amstel Vineyard Surroundings (based on data from Vos, 2015) -Location, Bovenkerkerpolder, south of Amsterdam, Amstelveen, in NE map quadrant. Dark brown stands for moss peat (mosveen). The upper layer consisted mainly of peat (Holland Veen). Much of the peat has been removed and mined for heating of the houses, in the last centuries.
Vinyard De Amsteltuin
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Vineyard de Amsteltuin – Located in a typical Dutch ” polder “. At circa 6-7 meters below sealevel. Near the Amstelriver, protected by the Amsteldijk Zuid, an iconic Dutch dike.
Geology Vinyard Surroundings
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Geology de Amsteltuin Vineyard Surroundings, Bovenkerkerpolder – In Dutch – Pleistocene and Holocene geology of the surrounding area.
Vinyard De Amsteltuin
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Vineyard de Amsteltuin
Terroir Vinyard Amstelland
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Terroir Vineyard de Amsteltuin, Bovenkerkerpolder, Cross-section. The surface and shallow subsurface consists of Holocene sediments (11.700 B.C – present day). Made up of salty sands, clays (Calais Formation) overlain by peat (Holland Veen). The sands and clays belong to the marine, transgressive, Calais formation that is about 5 meters thick.  Calais deposition ended 1800 B.C. From then on formation and deposition of the peat (Holland Veen) began. Most of it has been mined and removed such as for heating of the houses. Presence of “ sedimentary  “ peat as part of the terroir is rather unique. On a list of 45 vineyard soil types (Sotheby Wine Encyclopedia 2015) I have not encountered any original peat influenced/dominated terroir, as Amstelland Vineyard. Any wine connoisseur around that can explain the specific influence of the peat? If any? How to recognize its input as well as those of the marine salty sands and clays on the smell, aroma, perfume and bouquet of these typical Dutch wines ? Many thanks in advance. FYI: Lignite (intermediate between peat and coal) is used, but as a fertilizer in Germany and in the Champagne.
Vinyard De Amsteltuin
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Vineyard de Amsteltuin – The ripening grapes wrapped and protected by a plastic mesh curtain.
Vinyard De Amsteltuin
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Vineyard de Amsteltuin – Beautiful Dutch roses that accompany the grape vines.
Vinyard De Amsteltuin
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Vineyard de Amsteltuin – Excellent white Souvignier Adriana wine. – Made from the Souvignier Gris (80%) and Johanniter grapes – The name of the wine comes from the last farm on this location: Adriana Hoeve. How does the peat in the terroir influence and determine the specific taste of Souvignier Adriana ? Any connoisseur around that can answer this (sub)surface question?
Vinyard De Amsteltuin
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Vineyard de Amsteltuin- Circa 6-7 meters below sealevel – Probaby one the lowest vinyards and wine cellar in the world – Fermentation vessels.

Please visit their website. For a description of the really excellent wine that they produce and that we tasted and discussed during our meeting.

Though The Netherlands is not (yet) known as a wine producer. Dutchies do produce a few really excellent wines that already have reached an international standard and high level (…similar to their soccer players and trainers, e.g.).

Website de Amsteltuin http://amsterdamwine.nl

Cheers, Proost !

Questions and Musings.

  1. Vineyard de Amsteltuin has a unique vineyard geology (bedrock and overlying soils). Geology determines some of the physical parameters that affect vine performance. That could help to explain the typicity of the wines. The Amsteltuin terroir is different from most other wine producing areas in the world. In the first place because it contains peat as a natural surface, soil and shallow subsurface constituent. It is virtually flat, horizontal and located at some 6 meters below sealevel, in a typical Dutch polder. As such water is always available in the Amsteltuin vineyard substrate. The water level and drainage is strictly and splendidly regulated by the water management system of the polder (Regional Water and Polder Authority).
  2. How does the peat in the terroir influence and determine the specific taste of Souvignier Adriana ? Any wine connoisseur around that can answer this complex and highly sophisticated (sub)surface and oenological question?
  3. Or ?

    ” Finally, the notion of being able to actually taste the vineyard geology in the wine – a goût de terroir – arises partly through various misunderstandings of geological terminology and, presumably, through the sheer romance of the idea. Certainly the vision makes good journalistic copy, and is manifestly a powerful marketing tactic, geology being one of the few factors involved in wine production that cannot be translocated or easily replicated elsewhere. However, the proposition is wholly fanciful for a number of reasons and in any literal way is scientifically impossible.” Alex Maltman, 2017.

  4. Or?                                                                                                                                                The geology of wine is important to the wine-maker, but of very little importance to the drinker. However, a geologist with an interest in wine is almost inevitably going to take more than a passing interest in what lies beneath vineyards. This may have resulted in the importance of the geology being over-rated. Many wine writers who are not geologists have dutifully described the geology associated with particular wine regions without actually stating how the geology is important. Jake Hancock was quick to realize that a lot of what is written about geology in wine books is at best misguided and at worst utterly wrong, and set about putting this to rights at every opportunity. Vines derive most of their nourishment from a depth extending down to 0.6 m, but will, most of the time, rely on water from down as far as 2 m for transpiration. Only during periods of drought will they draw significant water from >2 m. Clearly then, in areas where there is a deep cover of drift or a deep soil horizon, geological influence on vines will be minimal. Even where the soil is thin, geology will, in many areas where vines are grown, only control the quality of the grapes indirectly through influence on soil composition, geomorphology and water retention. These factors will be examined, together with examples of instances where geology does have a direct influence on wine quality.
    (PDF) Geology and wine: A review. Available from: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/248606244_Geology_and_wine_A_review [accessed Sep 01 2018].
  5. But? ” It is for the most part less contentious to speak of terroir when we talk about peat. Anyone who drinks Scotch whisky will likely be familiar with peat; that earthy-smoky flavour present in many whiskies (Islay in particular) that is acquired when the germinating barley is dried over a fire fuelled by this source.Fewer will be aware of exactly what this material is.  Peat is a built up mixture of partially decayed vegetation and organic matter formed in wetlands where the obstructed flow of oxygen slows the rate of decomposition. Peat is essentially formed from whatever vegetation grows in a particular area, meaning peat bogs in different regions will be composed from different material, and hence it is feasible that the smoke produced from its burning will be chemically distinct (and more relevant for the whisky lover will produce different aromas).
  6. Geology and wine: A review, by Jennifer Huggett, May 2006, Petroclays Ltd.https://www.researchgate.net/publication/248606244_Geology_and_wine_A_review

  7. Terroir. The Role of Geology, Climate, and Culture in the Making of French Wines, by James E. Wilson, 1998, 336 pp.
  8. The Role of Vineyard Geology in Wine Typicity.
    by Alex Maltman, August 13, 2017, online. Also in Journal of Wine Research, Vol. 19, 2018. Issue 1.
    Institute of Geography and Earth Sciences University of Wales Aberystwyth, Wales SY23 3EE, U.K.  https://core.ac.uk/download/pdf/10186119.pdf
  9. Geographical location and history of Bovenkerkerpolder where Vineyard de Amsteltuin is located (from Wikipedia): 
  10. Bovenkerkerpolder is een polder in en ten zuiden van Amstelveen en ten oosten van Bovenkerk. In het noorden grenst het gebied aan de Middelpolder en in het oosten aan de Amstel. Het noordelijke deel van de polder is bebouwd. In het zuidelijk deel van de polder, tussen de Nesserlaan en de Hollandse Dijk, wordt de grond agrarisch gebruikt op de oude kavels uit 1760.
  11. Geschiedenis. Tot 1639 werd er turf gestoken in de polder en ontstond er een waterplas tussen de Bovenkerkerweg (west) en de Amsteldijk (oost). Later vormde het water een bedreiging voor Amstelveen en Amsterdam. Daarom werd op 7 september 1764 door de Staten van Holland en West-Friesland octrooi verleend voor het verder uitvenen en droogmaken van de plas. Het droogmaken gebeurde door elf molens. Uiteindelijk viel de polder in 1769 droog.
  12. Location map De Amsteltuin vinyard
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    Location map De Amsteltuin vineyard (indicated as/address Langs de Akker 5 – Wijngaarde) – east of Schiphol airport, south of Amsterdam and in Amstelveen.

    Bovenkerkerpolder - Amsteltuin vinyard
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    Bovenkerkerpolder -Map of 1901 by W.H. Hoekwater –  Location of Amsteltuin vineyard

 

 

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