Improving with age

by | Apr 21, 2018 | News, Blog, Wineland

The Old Vine Project (OVP), an organisation dedicated to preserving South Africa’s old vines, introduced an official seal that will serve as guarantee of a vineyard’s authentic old vine status. On Friday 20 April Old Vine members, supporters and interested parties gathered together at De Warenmarkt in Stellenbosch to taste and celebrate the exceptional wines produced from some of South Africa’s oldest vineyards.

Throughout the world, ancient vines embody the essence of a region’s winemaking heritage, but for the first time ever, this distinction can be certified through a regulatory authority. Members of the OVP can apply the Certified Heritage Vineyards seal on qualifying bottles of wine made from vineyards of 35 years and older. The seal proudly proclaims the vineyard’s planting date and the winery’s commitment to its legacy.

Speaking at the event, André Morgenthal from the OVP explained how old vines have to survive the odds stacked against them. A block’s yield typically begins to drop after 25-35 years, which translates into a financial decision based on its perceived value. The OVP aims to help wineries navigate these challenges to maintain their vineyards and have them remain profitable for much longer. A joint venture between the University of Cape Town Graduate School of Business, Winetech and the Stellenbosch University was therefore undertaken to study consumer perception of old vine wines and help unlock their value.

The OVP’s mandate does not end with the vineyards, but extends to the people who tend them. The vision to make old-vine farming viable includes training vineyard workers in the skills required to prune not only old vines, but also new vines that have been “planted to grow old”. To this end, Swiss-based pruning shears manufacturer Felco will offer specialised old-vine pruning courses for OVP members’ vineyard workers.

Look for OVP’s stand at Cape Wine 2018, set up with the support of Wosa. The number of wines bearing the Certified Heritage Vineyards seal will continue growing and underscoring our wine industry’s deep roots in history.

Members of the Old Vine Project as of April 2018:

  1. AJ Du Toit
  2. Alheit Vineyards
  3. Allee Bleue
  4. Anthonij Rupert Wyne
  5. Bellevue Wine Estate
  6. Boekenhoutskloof Winery
  7. Bosman Adama Family Wines
  8. Cecilia Wines
  9. Daschbosch
  10. David en Nadia
  11. DeMorgenzon
  12. DGB – Bellingham
  13. Fairview Wines
  14. Gabriëlskloof
  15. Hogan Wines
  16. Huis van Chevallerie
  17. Koelenhof Wynkelder
  18. Kruger Family Wines
  19. Lammershoek Farms & Winery
  20. Meerendal Wine Estate
  21. Metzer Family Wines
  22. Mullineux & Leeu Family Wines
  23. Naudé Family Wine Company
  24. Reyneke Wines
  25. Spice Route Wines
  26. Terracura
  27. The Sadie Family Wines
  28. Thorne and Daughters Wines
  29. Villiera Wines
  30. Waterford Estate
  31. Wolvenhoek Boerdery

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