HEERSTAAYEN: Domaine d’Heerstaayen & Orangery d’Heerstaayen
Heerstaayen is a neighbourhood just outside Breda at the Belgian border along the river Mark. Thirty-six years ago we started a vineyard there, Domaine d’Heerstaayen, growing grapes from Burgundy: chardonnay, pinot noir and gamay. Also some merlot and cabernet-sauvignon. Later on we added riesling and pinot gris. Eventually riesling, chardonnay and pinot gris remained and we stopped producing red wine. We have tried to grow merlot and cabernet for thirty-five years, but as the climatic changes do not go that fast and these varieties do not ripen well enough we stopped growing them.
Shortly after the planting we started importing French wines, which we still do today, mainly from small winegrowers. Our import of French wines is not only meant for the Dutch market, but we also represent a number of Domaines and Chateaux abroad, particularly in China.
The Orangery d’Heerstaayen was initially served as a nursery, just in order to let big tub-plants survive the winter. It still does, but during the summer months (starting in May) wine-tastings and wedding ceremonies are held here. A few years ago we became an official wedding venue. Every weekend and also often on weekdays young couples get married here from far and near. Our wedding venue is also frequently used by professional photographers, who subsequently help to make it better known all the time by publishing it on their websites, etc. Marijke decorates the place in a way which appeals greatly to our potential customers and as far as the culinary accompaniment is concerned, we work with some caterers who have become regulars here.
For garden lovers we have laid out a beautiful ornamental garden here and two small vineyards. The old Flemish barn hosts a winery. In October the harvested grapes are gathered here for selection, followed by the vinification process. You can partially witness this process in the big glass fermentation bottles. A considerable part of the production, among which the chardonnay, is raised in new French wine casks from FrançoisFrères of Burgundy. The varieties of grapes we have harvested since 1979 are: Riesling, Pinot-Gris and Chardonnay. As from 2012 we stopped raising Pinot-Noir, Gamay, Merlot and Cabernet-Sauvignon due to the poor number of hours of sunshine.