Dutch wine trade

Appears in

Oxford Companion to Wine

Oxford Companion to Wine

By Jancis Robinson

Published 2006

  • About

Dutch wine trade, a major influence on the history of international trade in wine. By the middle years of the 17th century, the Dutch republic had achieved a dominant position in the world trade in wines and spirits (and much else besides), greater, even, than that of england, whose Navigation Acts in the 1650s were directed specifically at Dutch freight. John Locke recorded in 1678 that the Dutch conducted more trade through bordeaux than England. Amsterdam, Rotterdam, and Dordrecht were world emporia. Its geographical position, at the estuaries of three great rivers, Schelde (Scheldt), Maas (Meuse), and Rhine, made it a natural point of convergence for river-based traffic; its wealthy bourgeoisie created a consumer demand distributed throughout the region, in addition to that of the nobility; and, lastly, its relative proximity to long-established and highly productive wine-producing areas enabled it to become a major conduit for the highly prized wines of the Rhineland and Alsace (see german history).