What could possibly be better than dreaming away on the couch at home with a nice book? Glass of wine with it… The book 12X Wijn Weekendje Weg in NL (Dutch for ’12X Wine Weekend Away in NL’) takes you on a wine journey along the most special vineyards in The Netherlands. Awesome! Ideal reading material for all wine lovers, bon vivants, people who enjoy weekend getaways… And perfect for a #staycation! Time for an interview with the author of the book, Peetra van der Knaap.
About the author
Register Vinologist, Master in Law, author, teacher and proud mother of two beautiful children. Peetra (50, I thought max 42!) has a background that stands out. Yet rarely have I spoken to a vinologist who is so down to earth as she is. Oh yes, she loves wearing high heels – “Often I forget to bring socks for the boots” – and Michelin restaurants, but this farmer’s daughter has clearly not forgotten her roots. Curious, creative and authentic are characteristics that suit her. “Believe in your own strength to stand out from the crowd”.
As a travel blogger I have itchy feet constantly, feel the desire to travel from place to place and share my adventures. Peetra recognizes that feeling. The urge to do research and write about her experiences. “Then it keeps itching and then I have to do something with it”. In her book 12X Wijn Weekendje Weg in NL she tells about her fascinating journey along 55 vineyards in The Netherlands spread over all 12 provinces. Something that is close to her heart being a vinologist and a farmer’s daughter.
“I’m interested in the wine farmer behind the bottle. Human interest . I really wanted to visit them personally and see who the farmer is. What drives him/her and what he or she is working on.” The timing of her book is excellent when she started from scratch in 2019. More and more Dutch people want to buy local products, straight from the farmer. And now the COVID-19 crisis forces us to put our wanderlust on hold and stay in The Netherlands for a while. To be creative.
Well then you’ve come to the right place with Peetra. “I want to show the people here that so many beautiful things are possible locally, even nowadays. Things to enjoy, close to home.” You can see her book as a kind of Lonely Planet of wine in The Netherlands. It makes you spontaneously feel like going out. “I hope people will get excited because of my book. Take the car and go out to visit the vineyards in The Netherlands. Buy a few bottles and enjoy them at home. ”
In the past year everyone experienced that The Netherlands is actually really beautiful, and that a staycation turns out to be not such a bad idea after all. But who knew there are so many fine vineyards in The Netherlands? “My book is an ode to Dutch wine. With my visits to the Dutch winegrowers I have built up a personal relationship with them. It feels a bit like coming home ” Peetra says with a big smile on her face.
“Okay, I forgot to bring my socks a few times when we went out to pick grapes – I just like to wear high heels. But it feels good to be in the mud with the boots on too. That’s me.” Peetra: “Don’t expect me to act like an Instagramming girl running around in a white dress who disappears from the vineyard right after taking a number of selfies and petting some grapes.”
Classic vs. new
This book was published at a time when some discussion arose among Dutch wine connoisseurs about classic vs. new grape varieties. Peetra “In Limburg you might succeed in producing a fine Chardonnay, but in Drenthe that just doesn’t work in terms of circumstances. A number of people in the Dutch wine business have cautious reservations about the so-called hybrid varieties. I think that is unjustified. I prefer to talk about classic and new grape varieties. ”
A number of very good wines are made in The Netherlands. And not just in South Limburg.Peetra van der Knaap
It’s a matter of trusting your senses. Go on a wine tour and enjoy. “Tasting wine is an experience. Sometimes you will be disappointed, but usually not! Visiting the vineyards in The Netherlands felt like – and still is – a party every time we do. I have gained a lot of respect for the Dutch winegrowers. ”And then heading home with a good feeling. “Driving back with a trunk full of new discoveries in liquid form. Delicious!”
It is also not easy to be a wine grape grower and winemaker at the same time. Peetra: “Oenologist Stan Beurskens of Vineyard St. Martinus, who I also interviewed for my book, said it when I spoke to him on the phone recently. Growing wine grapes and making wine are two different crafts, each requiring very specific expertise and skills. Sometimes it might be better to choose between one of the two. Do what you are good at.” And we are not even talking about PR and marketing yet. “To tell a story. There is still a lot to be gained there for the Dutch winegrowers.”
Not everyone knows that Dutch viticulture has been active since the 1970s. “Look, there is so much history and culture in the Bordeaux in France for example, that also differs per area. That simply cannot be compared with vineyards in The Netherlands. ” There is more and more cooperation among Dutch winegrowers. A confirmation of the origin of wine is an important step in the right direction to further increase the quality level. “A number of winegrowers are working together to achieve a Protected Designation of Origin (PDO, in Dutch BOB),” says Peetra.
PDO/BOB was introduced by the European Commission to protect regional products whose quality and characteristics are attributable to the particular geographical environment of the place of origin. With a PDO, the link between the wine and its geographic origin is greater than with a Protected Geographical Indications (PGI). Products bearing the BOB quality mark must be produced, processed and prepared within a specific area according to a recognized and controlled method. BOB/PDO is comparable with the French AOP.12X Wine Weekend Away in NL
Peetra has a warm heart for the Dutch winegrowers. “I wish the Dutch winegrowers to achieve the success they deserve. A great deal of hard work is being done on a beautiful product that is certainly worth tasting. I like to act as a link between the farmer and consumer. But I would also like to connect prospective students at the Wine Academy to winegrowers from their own area, for example. That literal connection is so important. To see, experience and get to know each other for real.”
The 1 st edition of the book is going so fast that the 2 nd edition will be published on March 1st already. “That surprised me in a positive way. The book was received as a kind of reference book for Dutch wine.” That is of course a well-deserved compliment! “The recognition and appreciation is certainly nice, especially because it comes from different angles. I wanted to specialize in Dutch wine and I managed quite well. It feels good to be able to distinguish myself in this way.”
More and more Dutch top restaurants are serving Dutch wine . Peetra: “An increasing number of restaurant owners are even compiling their own Dutch wine in collaboration with a wine farmer. That says something. As far as I am concerned, then you can no longer claim that there is no such thing as Dutch quality wine. There definitely is. So nobody has to question that anymore.”
Besides the fact that everyone should just start reading this great book, any tips for readers? “If you have them, put your prejudices aside and get out there. Take a Dutch wine trip. Vineyards are outdoors, so COVID-proof and safe. Winemakers are open as usual, so get out there and buy a box of wine from a local vineyard. Or even better: make it a nice wine weekend away.” After all, it is not without reason that Peetra’s website is called Wijnweekendjeweg.nl (Wine Weekend away in Dutch).
And it doesn’t stop there. There is much more to experience with Peetra. In addition to all the fantastic vineyards in The Netherlands, she gives a good dose of additional tips in her book, such as restaurants that serve Dutch quality wines. And pleasant accommodation in the area is also part of that. “We are far from finished. There is so much more to discover. For example, I was recently at a vineyard in North-Brabant province [which will be included in the revised edition, ed.] and that was really great! More and more Dutch vineyards are being added.” Wow, that promises something!
Travel and wine, two passions that come together in a fantastic, accessible way in this incredible book. Recently I (Elisa, writer of this blog) started with the SDIN1 (Dutch version of WSET) wine course to increase my knowledge about wine. Do you like wine too? Awesome! In the Dutch version of this article there is a giveaway in which people from The Netherlands and Belgium can participate in for a chance to win a copy of the book 12X Wijn Weekendje Weg in NL by Peetra van der Knaap.
The Flitter Fever travel blog is celebrating its 5th anniversary! Or rather: a giveaway that makes readers happy. Would you like to win a copy of this fantastic book? Then participate now for a chance to win 12X Wijn Weekendje Weg in NL .
Go to the Dutch version of this article if you wish to participate for a chance to win this book.
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Did not win?
Don’t be sad. Or you just cannot wait? Of course the book 12X Wijn Weekendje Weg in NL by Peetra van der Knaap is also just for sale, for example via bol.com. Great material to practice your Dutch with or as a original gift for a Dutch friend who likes wine?
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Have you ever visited one of the vineyards in The Netherlands? Do you like wine? Post a nice comment below!
Read more about the Dutch vineyards you should put on your bucket list for this summer.
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Read more articles about The Netherlands in the Netherlands Blog Archives.
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Last Updated on 06/10/2021 by Flitter Fever