El Placer: an organic vineyard & winery in Lelystad, the Netherlands
Just at the start of the new millennium we - Johan & Lidwien - made a start with a new 50 acre vineyard a bit north of Lelystad. Our cottage and the shed had been built during the winter before and we went on preparing the surface and soil. We planted the first 500 Regent-plants, the next year followed by another 400 Regent and 500 Rondo. Both are early-riping varieties of the vitis vinifera, breeded in Germany, both mildew-tolerant, suited for the climatological conditions in de middle part of the Netherlands and, if well-treated, suitable material for nice wines. El Placer is situated in the Groene Velden - a project of 5500 acres meant for small-scale organic rural enterprises. On our piece of land you will find now a wooden shed of 12 by 9 m. with our winemaking facilities, our cottage annex visitors-chamber and a wagon. The name "El Placer" is Spanish for 'pleasure'. Lidwien worked and lived in Chile for 8 years, we have many Chilean friends, we fell in love with the Chilean wines and love to enjoy them in happy togetherness.
El Placer is one of the four somewhat bigger recognized organic vineyards (SKAL) in the Netherlands, where the grapes are being grown without the use of pesticides and fungicides.
Besides the organic working vineyards, there are about 30 other traditionally working vineyards in Holland of more than 10 acres in size. This number is rising: in total they cover an area of more then 100 ha.
The El Placer-concept is a special one. Characteristics: Craft-oriented, small scale, simple means and methods, experimental, innovative and still commercial. We covered the soil-surface with a mixture of 14 herbal weed- and cleaver-varieties. We use compost-tea as a preservative against fungal attacks and we use thin nonwoven bags for the grapes during the last 6 weeks before harvesting - a really new El Placer invention.
The plants grow in two sections: in respect of windstorms the plants in the second section are positioned in an angle of 45 degrees to the first part. We use three binding and leading systems: single curtain cordon, double Guyot-flat, and a mix-type of these two. We don't use fertilizers, dung or manor: we only use organic compost and apart from the grapes everything we take out of our yard we bring back in it again.
The results of the El Placer concept is nice: healthy plants, little fungal infections, no bird-damage, a green and rich flowering yard, a great variety of insects, birds and wild flowers, a wonderful smell during the year and ... fine and undamaged crops, resulting in five tasteful home-made wines:
- the dark blue-red Rondo-wine with its heavy cherish fruits
- the Regent as a powerful Bordeaux-like red wine
- the mix of the both of them
- the Regent Rosé as a nice and spicy-fruity alternative and finally
- our home-made ice-wine made from the Rondo.
The quality-class is comparable with the German kabinett-wines.
The amounts of the crops are still small but rising. In 2004 we expect to harvest 700 liters, in 2005 it will be 1100 liters and in 2006 we probably reach our maximum capacity of 1500 liters.
The bottles are nice tall-shaped, sold in sizes of 1/2 and 3/4 l. In 2004 we will make grappa as well.
Due to the small amounts, interested buyers can only place a request for the next year and even then for a few bottles only: we reserve 50% of the production for tests and visiting groups.
Visits and excursions
Visits to our vineyard are possible in groups of min. 15, max. 40 people. El Placer offers:
1. A guided tour through the vineyard and the winery.
Stepping around through knee-high cleavercovered paths along the vinebranches and the riping grapes, explanations and demonstration of the lead- and bind-system and the treatment of the plants.
2. Explanation about organic grapegrowing and vinification (winemaking)
History, background-data, variety-choice, vineyard-design and -construction, the yearly working steps, mildew-tolerance, resistance and prevention, harvesting, the steps in wine-making.
3. Winetasting and testing.
Tasting of several Regent red wines from Holland and Germany, including our own one. The Rondo (red wine), the Rondo-Regent cuvé and if available: Merzling (white) and Johanniter (white)
El Placer, biologische wijngaard
Groene Velden 138-140
8211 BD Lelystad
Phone : 0320-214976