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Leo Bravenboer buys first grapes from historic Dutch greenhouse

Tuesday 2 July marked the start of the new grape season at Historische Druivenkwekerij Sonnehoeck in Kwintsheul, with Leo Bravenboer's traditional purchase of the first grapes.

"Despite 2024 so far being the wettest year since the first measurements were taken, the first Frankenthalers can be harvested again. Their quality is excellent, as usual at Sonnehoeck," the Sonnehoeck team explained.

Since 1991, brothers Peter and Geo van Leeuwen have continued growing grapes at Sonnehoeck, as their father Gerard preceded them. "Today, more than 33 years later, the volunteers at Sonnehoeck and Peter in particular have had to do without Geo for two seasons already, but Sonnehoeck lives on," he says.

"Unfortunately, growing grapes has long since ceased to be profitable, but the Van Leeuwen family has steered Sonnehoeck through turbulent times. It is the love for the Westland Grape that led them to do so, but the challenges are great; rising energy prices and the removal of specific and crucial raw materials from the market, diminishing labour availability and knowledge."

However, the willingness to keep this national monument afloat is great. The National Cultural Heritage Agency has now provided a partial multi-year grant for the preservation of the grapevines and other plantings. And the province of South Holland recently granted a partial grant for restoration of the roof of agricultural farmhouse Sonnehoeck, which was built in 1729.

But is the willingness there? "The board members are very busy to secure the necessary funds for the future. We are not sitting still. There are great partnerships with the business community already as well. And there has been a great commitment from a management foundation we can count on for our restoration plans. We are also working on new initiatives. We recently launched 'Adopt a Grape Tree!'."

"We would like to thank all loyal grape buyers. We would like to ask potential new buyers to consider buying a crate of grapes as well. Good, healthy sales keep Sonnehoeck on the map. Now, and especially in the future, we really need that."

Sonnehoeck is the only grape farm in the Netherlands with national monument status. Here, grapes are still grown using traditional methods. On 5 December, the Van Leeuwen family will celebrate its 125th year of growing grapes at Sonnehoeck.

There are also several opportunities to visit Sonnehoeck. During guided tours, grapes can be tasted and bought. During Open Monument Day 2024, which falls on Saturday 14 September this year, Sonnehoeck can be visited free of charge from 10.00 a.m. to 04.30 p.m.

Very soon, retail sales will start, on Saturdays from 11.00 a.m. to 02.00 p.m.

For more information:
Sonnehoeck Historische Druivenkwekerij
Hollewatering 26
2295 LW Kwintsheul
[email protected]

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