Weekly wine defined: Old VinesJuly 16th, 2012 by brynn grimley
Occasionally, you’ll see “Old Vines” on a wine label. But what exactly does this mean?
Originally the old vines, or in France “vieilles vignes”, designation was used to point out wines from vines that were 50 to 100 years old. But there is no hard and fast rule in winedom that states exactly how old a vine must be before one can put “Old Vine” on the label.
And then there is the other Cheers to You rule: The more verbiage on the front label, the more special the grapes are.
Because the bunches of grapes produced by a vine decrease with age, the plant puts all of its energy into the few clusters that have survived. And with lower yields, come more concentrated flavors.
On the other end, the root system on old vines goes deeper. Younger vines have shallow roots, so in a passing rain storm the plant absorbs more water than an older plant with deeper roots. That means the wine made from those grapes can become diluted or have a green flavor, whereas the flavors in a wine from old vines will be concentrated.
Some of the oldestvines in the world are in Chilewhere Phylloxera has never devastated the vineyards. Other areas include Australia, Californiaand Spain.Washington and Oregon have a few pockets of 100-year oldvines.