The interest in wine from Old Vines is not new. However, thanks to the curious viticulturist, Rosa Kruger, who started the search in South Africa for vines 35 years or older in 2002, traction for local wines made from these vines has been growing steadily. The Old Vine Project was formally launched in 2016, with an official bottle seal for producers following in 2018. South Africa is the only country in the world to have a regulatory authority that can issue such certification. 

Older vines bear less fruit, and are therefore often replaced with younger, more productive vines to increase yield.

So why the interest?

With careful viticultural practices, the vines can bear fruit that produces some very interesting and complex wines.

It also appears that as vineyards come into their own at about 35 to 40 years, they balance out and reach a natural equilibrium in terms of growth vigour and how much fruit they bear per vintage. It seems as if the vine starts ‘thinking for itself’, it reads the vintage and controls growth according to the available resources and prevailing weather conditions. Keeping in mind that these vines have been stuck in the same place for decades, enduring weather conditions of all extremes and deprived of the luxury to relocate to more ‘comfortable’ conditions, the fruit from these vineyards is then naturally in balance, which requires minimum intervention upon arrival at the cellar and during vinification.”

At Wildekrans, we are proud to be members of the Old Vine Project with our own Certified Heritage Vineyard of Chenin Blanc vines, planted in 1982 and comprising 2 hectares. The grapes from these vines are used to make our award-winning Barrel Select Reserve Chenin Blanc.

Find out more by visiting the Old Vine Project’s website.

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