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Colruyt to become first supermarket chain to launch own brand of Belgian wine

14:34 14/07/2023

Retail giant Colruyt is to begin the production of its own organic wines in Belgium - and hopes to put the first bottles on supermarket shelves in 2026.

The group has already planted four hectares of vines at La Croisette in Frasnes-les-Anvaing, Hainaut province. Five more hectares will follow next year.

Colruyt said that this area, the Pays des Collines, is known for its favourable growing conditions. The wine will be bottled at Colruyt’s distribution centre in Ghislenghien that houses the company’s Fine Food Wine business.

The first pilot phase will be focused on growing white grape varieties, including Muscaris, Souvignier Gris and Johanniter. Next year will see the planting of red grape varieties such as Cabarnet Noir, Cabernet Jura, Satin Noir and Pinot Kors.

“In the long term, in a favourable scenario, Colruyt Group is aiming to achieve an annual production of some 70,000 bottles of still white, rosé and red wine,” the supermarket said.

Jean-Christophe Verschelde, the group’s wine expert, said: “There is above all an aim to work on a short circuit project that meets our clients’ needs,” with the chain emphasising that there is a big demand for local wine.

The company has not revealed how much it is spending on the project, but estimations have been made in the region of €1 million or more.

Responding to fears that the group’s new project will put smaller producers out of business, Verschelde told RTBF: "Belgian viticulture is just waiting to expand.

"I rather think that we are a player that can promote its development and ensure that we can collaborate with other wine growers already in operation. Moreover, we already have contacts on all sides to create added value."

Pierre Rion, president of the Wallonia winegrowers' association, agreed: "There is a place for everyone. I am more inclined to be delighted at this news.

"If Colruyt, that has an excellent reputation in the wine sector, is now interested in local wines, this is because they are convinced that we have a territory where we produce some very good things."

Rion added that Belgium consumes 300 million bottles of wine a year, and so "there is plenty of room for additional production".

Written by Liz Newmark