The strange year 2020 will not be a bad year for Dutch winegrowers, because the size of the harvest will be roughly the same as last year.

In terms of quality, it is not a great year, but a reasonable year, says chairman Simon Crone of the Association of Dutch Wine Producers (VNWP).

As in so many sectors, it is also a strange year for winemakers.

Dutch winegrowers rely mainly on sales to catering establishments in the region and at the vineyard.

There, guided tours and tastings are given, which stimulate sales.

"The tours and tastings were very limited at the beginning of the year and now that is the case again", says Crone, who also owns a vineyard: domain between Rug en Rijn, near Utrecht.

Where normally ten to fifteen people participate in a tour and tasting, there are now two.

"Dutch wine is also sold a lot at restaurants in the region. That has, of course, partly disappeared."

In the summer, when the measures were relaxed again and people in large numbers stayed in the Netherlands for the holidays, the vineyards benefited from this.

Especially in combination with the beautiful weather.

"The interest in Dutch wine has grown anyway as the quality has increased. Going to the vineyard has become a trip."

The Netherlands now has about 240 hectares of wine, spread over approximately 130 vineyards.

On an annual basis, Dutch wine is good for a million bottles, and with all the trimmings - including the tours and the modest catering industry at the vineyard - for 12 to 18 million euros in turnover, Crone estimates.

That is nothing compared to the international wines.

The total import of this amounts to about 1.5 billion euros, with 450 million bottles on an annual basis.

"We drink about twenty bottles of wine per person per year", says Peter van Houtert of the Royal Association of Dutch Wine Traders (KVNW).

"That has been fairly stable for years. It has perhaps become less recently due to the increasing popularity of specialty beers."

This year, people mainly opt for more expensive wines in the supermarket, and the wine specialty shop points out Van Houtert.

The Dutch don't drink more wine, but better

"There is no more drinking now that we are at home, but better wine", says Van Houtert.

"Normally we spend a little more than 4 euros per bottle in the supermarket and 7 to 8 euros in the specialty store on wine. Now that is about 5 euros and 10 euros respectively."

That certainly does not make the year a good year for importers, because imports are just 10 percent lower as a result of the closure of the catering industry.

"Importers who mainly supply to the hotel and catering industry have a lost year."

The chairman of the KVNW thinks that many people have discovered Dutch wine "through tourism in their own country" thanks to the corona crisis.

"When it comes to larger volumes, we do help to market them more widely. The Dutch market is true, such as in the hotel and catering industry and specialty stores."

The volumes of Dutch wine are too small for the supermarkets.

Chairman Crone of the Dutch winemakers is now trying to bring the red wine from 2019 to the attention in the shops in the region.

"Surely this is the time to sell the red wine, but the options are now limited. The wine we harvested last month will not be on the market until next year."