Wine and gems

When the Romans arrived in our region, they knew right away: the Haspengouw hills with their southern flanks and loamy soil are ideal for growing wine grapes. This meant the first vineyards were planted in the Tongeren countryside two thousand years ago.

Wine was a hit in Haspengouw for centuries, but some extremely cold periods, especially in the 17th century (the Little Ice Age), caused many vineyards to wither away. The final blow came in 1815-1816, when a gigantic volcanic eruption in Indonesia resulted in 'the year without a summer', with frost and snow during the summer months. The South Limburg wine grape only experienced a real revival in the 20th century.

Several of Haspengouw's wines have since achieved the status of internationally praised quality wines.

Veni vidi vino!

Genoelselderen wine chateau

The only wine chateau in Belgium is located in the neighbouring municipality of Riemst, along the old road from Tongeren to Cologne: Genoelselderen. The chateau is privately owned. The owners, the Van Rennes family, revived the centuries-old wine culture in 1990.

It is the largest wine estate in our country, spanning 22 hectares. Its wines have won international medals and been voted Belgium's best wine several times. Genoelselderen is famous for its white and red wines, as well as its sparkling wines: the black, silver and rose gems. The vineyards contain several special varieties of Chardonnay grape, but Pinot Noir also thrives here.

Many Tongeren chefs happily serve these Haspengouw wines with their dishes.

You can visit the castle grounds with its impressive vineyard, rose garden, distillery, press house and 13th-century wine cellars, by appointment. And of course, you can end the day with a wine tasting. Book your visit via the Tongeren Tourist Office.

Mead

Prefer something a little sweeter? If so, try the mead from Imkerij De Kevie, made with their traditionally extracted honey.