Back in 2000 or so Freek Verhoeven was retiring from his job as head nurse of a hospital and was looking for a hobby. He bought himself a plot of land and planted vines, as you do. He was also an amateur athlete and very competitive. When his first wine managed to get a bronze medal, his competitive nature really came to the fore and he decided to try harder until he got at least a gold medal. He expanded the vineyard holding to 13.5 ha, installed a modern winery and drafted in the help of his brother Cees. The results are impressive and gold medals have meanwhile been awarded including at various international competitions.
As Freek (incidentally it's pronounced Frake rather than Freak) is thinking of retiring for a second time he is slowly putting young enologist Adam Dijkstra in charge to continue the project, the latter took out some time to chat to the Wine Anarchist and his family about the vineyards and give them a small tasting.
In total there are 3 plots under vine around the village of Groesbeek, all farmed organically, one directly adjacent to the winery, De Colonjes, which is on slight south slope (yes there are some slopes even in the Netherlands!) on Loess soil,
and the other ones the Knapheide Weg and 't Hof respectively. The grape varieties are all hybrid varieties and amazingly reds are a bit of specialty of this winery, but they do also produce some excellent rosé, both still and sparkling and some very respectable whites.
On talking with Adam, the Wine Anarchist found a lot in common with him. They both share an interest not only in organic production methods but also in permaculture and Adam lamented the fact that vine growing is by definition more or less only possible in mono-cultures. However to counteract this somewhat at Colonjes they interplant the rows of vines with a mixture of some 25 different wild plants including edible ones and ones that fix atmospheric nitrogen into the soil and accumulate nutrients from subsoil levels. The fact that they use many disease resistant hybrid varieties also eliminates the need for harmful chemicals used in the vineyard.
Tasting the wines the WA was very impressed. He took a whole sample case with him to re-taste some in the comfort of his or someone else's home during his travels. He had previously tasted English wines extensively and found that many of them stood out for their aromatic qualities, but this winery's choice of grape varieties was leaning more towards crisp fresh wines. Here are some of his tasting notes:
Internationale Bioweinpreis in Germany. The colour is a pale salmon, whilst the nose reveals delicate aromas of rose petals, raspberry and cream. The palate is dry with a lively acidity yet a creamy texture with slightly flinty notes and some understated, delicate fruit. Very elegant and good.
The wines are priced between 10 and 20 Euros (the latter for the sparkling wine) and are available directly from the winery as well as number of shops across the Netherlands. The winery is open to visitors at any time, although they are thinking of possibly introducing opening times. English is spoken. Tours for groups can be arranged in advance. There are also a number of events making a visit worth it such as Open Days or the Groesbeek Wine Festival from the 28th-30th September this year.
Contact details are:
2de Colonjes 4
6562 DM Groesbeek
Tel: +31 (0)24-3973754