When you think of the Netherlands, you’re more likely to imagine drinking dark, malty bock beers in a cosy brown café that quaffing wine – let alone Dutch wine. But in recent years, the wine scene in and around Amsterdam has come on in leaps and bounds.
Our resident Amsterdam Foodie (who’s not known to turn down a tipple or two) brings you her round up of the best places to taste, tour and shop for wine in and around the Dutch capital.
Urban winery: Chateau Amsterdam
A concept that’s been around in the United States for a few years, urban wineries are essentially locations that produce wine in the city rather than in the place where the grapes are actually grown. Currently the biggest in Europe, Chateau Amsterdam is one such winery and you can visit it in Amsterdam Noord.
Founders Remy and Jos import grapes from different producers all over Europe to create wines that are unique blends. Think Furmint grapes from Podravje, Slovenia blended with Muscatel grapes from Valencia, Spain and you’ll get an idea of the ‘Inspector Palm’ 2021 blend.
Unlike a regular wine tasting in an urban location, during Chateau Amsterdam’s winery tour you’ll get to experience the complete process of turning grapes into wine: from grape to fermentation to bottle. And yes, there are also tastings! Seven of the Chateau’s signature blends, including red, white and orange wines – followed by dinner if you’re so inclined.
Dutch vineyard: Amsteltuin
While the hilly(ish) southern provinces of Limburg and Gelderland are better known for their wine production than the north of the Netherlands, a few kilometres outside Amsterdam you can visit a vineyard that’s actually producing its own wine – yes, in Noord Holland.
To do that, the wine makers at Amsteltuin in Amstelland need to grow specific grapes that are hardy in the Dutch climate: Johanniter, Solaris and Souvignier Gris for the whites; Cabernet Cortis and Pinotin for the reds and rosés. You can taste and buy the wines at Amsteltuin, but the winery also puts on plenty of events in their beautiful vineyard location – which makes it a good spot for the vineyard tour and tasting as part of a wedding, team building day or party.
Grape-ganza: Amsterdam Wine Festival
For the past five years, Amsterdam has been throwing its very own wine festival. Taking place annually, the Amsterdam Wine Festival brings together over 300 wines from all over the world under one roof at the Westergasfabriek over a four-day weekend.
If filling your wine passport with tasting notes isn’t enough of a draw, there are also food stalls, performances, music and workshops to keep you entertained. The next edition takes place March 23-26.
Wine meets history: Wine Experience Amsterdam
At Wine Experience Amsterdam, your historical journey starts in Amsterdam and then takes you on a global tour of the Dutch wine trade from California to Croatia. Taking place every weekend, this journey of discovery (near Amsterdam Centraal) covers not only facts about Amsterdam and it’s oenophile past, but also about how to pair wine with food.
Shop Dutch wines: Bob Wijn
Looking for a unique bottle of wine to gift to your dinner host? How about giving them a Dutch wine! Inside Vindict on Elandsgracht in the Jordaan, you’ll find shop-in-shop Bob Wijn that’s been specialising in Dutch wines since 2020 and can advise you on your choice. Pinot Noir from Limburg, anyone?
But you can also book a tasting if you’d prefer to try before you buy. In case you’re wondering where the name comes from, BOB stands for Beschermde Oorsprongsbenaming (Protected Designation of Origin – the equivalent of AOP in France of DOC in Italy). And by the way, a couple of Dutch wines also have EU protected status.
Cave tasting: Wine Cellar
Had enough of Dutch wines? Then head to South America from the comfort of Dam Square, where you can have a private tasting of some of the best that Argentina has to offer. Tucked beneath the Nieuwekerk, Amsterdam’s very own Wine Cellar – a cave-like hideaway – is available for private tastings led by Belgerette Wine importers for up to ten people. Mediterranean bites are served to go with the wines.
Wine bar with a twist: Rayleigh & Ramsay
Over the past decade, wine bars have sprung up all over Amsterdam – offering plenty of choice in wines by the glass. But not all wine bars are created equal, and we reckon Rayleigh & Ramsay is the cream of the crop.
Their concept is unique in Amsterdam (as far as we’re aware), using a special dispensary system to keep open bottles of wine perfectly preserved and stored at the ideal drinking temperature.
After loading up a card with credit, the vino-curious can choose from over 100 wines – by the glass, half-glass or sample tasting – meaning you can taste everything from a cheap and cheerful Pinot Grigio to a high-end Meursault. As Rayleigh & Ramsay aptly say on their website, it’s like a candy store for adults!
Of course, there are plenty more fantastic wine bars to visit in Amsterdam, including GlouGlou, Paulus and Clos. For a curated roundup of some of the best, visit Amsterdam Foodie’s website or download her Amsterdam Restaurant & Bar Guide.
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