The Romans spread the grape plants all over Europe during their conquests. The Hagelanders quickly noticed that the soil of ferrous sandstone was very suitable for this foreign plant, but it should take several centuries before the wine culture had his real breakthrough.
Medieval monastery wine
During the Middle Ages, wine growing was something for the nobility and the monasteries. Godfried I, Duke of Brabant, had a vineyard planted in Leuven (Louvain) in the 12th century. One century later the first vineyards were planted in Aarschot, Diest and Hoegaarden. Fluctuating grane prices, religious wars in the 16th century, the cold and the competition of foreign, cheaper wines made the succes of the wine fluctuating. In the 19th century the wine cultivation dissappeared nearly completely.
Since the 1970's the Hageland wine started a revival. Friends Jos Daems, Marcel Saenen, Maurice Fol, Jacques Cypers and Achilles Schrevens decided in 1972 to start again with viticulture. They started de socuiety of the "Hagelandse Wine Amateurs" and planted grpae palnts again on the south hills. An infectious example. More and more wine makers joined and the quality increased. In 1997 the Hageland wines received as the first Belgian wines, the European recognition "Controled Designation of Origin Hageland". If this is on the label, you are sure you have a supreme quality Hageland wine.
Vinobelga, the first Hageland wine
Jos Daems planted the first grape vines early 70's on the southern flanks of Houwaartse Berg (hill).The start of the revival not only the Hageland wines, but also for all new Belgian wines. With the harvest - Müller-Thurgau and Ortega - he made the first Hagelander, together with his wife Simone. The basement where he did this, is now a small museum of the Hageland viticulture. An ode to late Jos Daems. His son Rik, continues the tradition of his father and transformed the parental house into a tourist meeting place, with a wine bar off course.