and Estate : 'Ten Kapittelberg'
How it began
Visits to the
and 16th century wine supplier to abbeys and
mixture of the best grape vines : Müller-Thurgau,
Silvaner, Optima, Sieger, Pinot Blanc, Gewürztraminer ,
Ortega and Chardonnay for white and Frühburgunder,
Pinot Noir and Dornfelder for red..
and Estate : 'Ten Kapittelberg' (berg=hill,mountain)
The hilly area
between Diest and Aarschot is not only the historical
border between 'the land of Aerschot' and the 'marquisette
of Westerloo', but it's also the geographical border
between the two regions 'Kempen' and 'Hageland'.
Once the Flemish vineyard belt was found on the southern
slopes of this hill.
It is here that 'The Kapittelberg'-estate in Herselt is
located. The wine estate being only 6 kilometres away from
Averbode-abbey and 7 kms from Tongerlo-abbey, supplied
church wines to these abbeys and important noblemen. The
name of the estate itself suggests the bond with the two
The 'Kapittelberg' (32 meters high) is protected by a
forest in the north and in the west. The southern slopes
are covered with 14000 vines. They are situated in a green
valley where nature is pure and scenery is quiet and
this southern 'Kempian' scene has nearly changed in 300
Among others it
was the late Dr. Weyns, conservator and co-founder of the
open-air museum of Bokrijk (located in the region Limburg,
eastern parts of Belgium) who encouraged Mr Karel
Willekens to rebuild the Kapittelfarm based on a model of
a Norbertin monk's farm. It was the Norberton monks who
were the first to exploit the poor Kempian moors. The
farmhouse was 3-winged and had a separate barn.
The first plants of the Pinot Noir-grape were bought in
Vosne-Romanée (Bourgogne) in 1964.
In 1981 the vineyard was extended with seven more
varieties and to a surface of 2 hectares. In 1987 two more
ha of vineyard were planted.
One could write a book on the many misfortunes, the hard
labour and long working-hours, but this was nothing
compared with the hard labour of the many generations of
poor farmers who had to make a living on the very
infertile 'Kempian' soil.
enjoys a real microclimate due to its natural favourable
When the cold wind blows in the valley, the southern
slopes, protected by the forest, have a temperature, which
are always a few degrees higher than in the valley.
This is important in spring (April & May) when frost
may destroy the early buds. A few degrees more or less can
make all the difference as far as the surviving of young
buds is concerned. In the harvest-period
(mid September-half October) a few more degrees can
increase the sugar contents of the grape juice. As a
forest belt protects the cold compass points (northeast),
warmth can be kept longer and used in full.
The sandy top
layer on the hill has got more benefits besides the
advantages of gaining warmth. Vines grow vertically and
the poor soil prevents the roots from growing
horizontally. So plants suffer less in dry periods and
they rely on the soil. In the deeper layers they find
lime, which is necessary for growing.
The wine making
techniques we apply are modelled on Cape (South Africa)
procedures. We build double bows and the plants are bent
at a height of 70cms in two opposite bows.
Insufficient sunshine is a problem in our region,
especially for the Pinot Noir, which almost never gets to
full maturity. That's why other grapes are used, among
other German, Luxemburger and Alsacian grapes, as they are
more adapted to our climate.
The grape species grown here are : Müller-Thurgau,
Optima, Siegerrebe, Ortega, Silvaner, Pinot Blanc,
Traminer, Pinot Noir, Dornfelder, Chardonnay…
Harvest period is from end September until beginning
November. The white wine is light and fruity and made
according to French winemaking procedures.
As there is no rest-sugar it can be enjoyed by diabetics
and the low alcohol contents (max. 11% vol.) enables the
full fruity flavour of this "Kempian" wine to be
appreciated by everyone making it the most popular product
in the region.
During World War
I the farmhouse was burnt down and the owner, farmer Louis
Bruyninckx (nicknamed 'De Witte Kapittel') was executed.
The house was reconstructed in 1963, the vineyard rebuilt
and the first noble wine got the name of the last
inhabitant of the Kapittel farmhouse.
to the "Kapittel" farmhouse
The 15 th
century barn is opened daily from 1st May to
beginning October from 14.00 onwards.
You can enjoy our "Kempian Witte Kapittel"
- "Nobelwit" - "Adelblank" and our
Sparkling : "Chapittel" in white beside our "Edelrood
in red on oak !
From the 1st of October season is closed.
welcome on our estate.
Groups of about 15 people are kindly requested to make a reservation for a
guided vineyard and cellar tour.