Belgium (i/ˈbɛldʒəm/; Dutch:België[ˈbɛlɣijə]; French:Belgique[bɛlʒik]; German:Belgien[ˈbɛlɡiən]), officially the Kingdom of Belgium, is a sovereign state in Western Europe. It is a founding member of the European Union and hosts several of the EU's official seats and as well as the headquarters of many major international organizations such as NATO. Belgium covers an area of 30,528 square kilometres (11,787sqmi) and has a population of about 11million people.
Straddling the cultural boundary between Germanic and Latin Europe, Belgium is home to two main linguistic groups: the Dutch-speaking, mostly Flemish community, which constitutes about 59% of the population, and the French-speaking, mostly Walloon population, which comprises 41% of all Belgians. Additionally, there is a small group of German-speakers who live in the East Cantons located around the High Fens area, and bordering Germany.
Belgian wine is produced in several parts of Belgium and production, although still modest at 1,400 hectoliters in 2004, has expanded in recent decades.
Belgian wine first appeared in the Middle Ages, around the 9th century. It is unlikely that wine was made in the area now known as Belgium before that, since the climate was not suitable and Gaul was covered with thick forests. However, there are mentions of Paris vineyards in the 4th century. From that time, vine cultivation spread northward and in the 8th century the banks of the Rhine were covered with vineyards. The first attempts at viniculture in Belgium were made around the same time. Moreover, the vineyards were already well established in Amay. The vineyard at Vivegnis, in the north of the province of Liège, was already considered old in the 9th century, as well as the vineyard at Huy, which belonged in part to the Bishop of Liège. The edges of the Meuse River were intensively cultivated because they offered well-exposed hillsides.