What does it mean when it says “Old Vines” on a wine label?
When you see the words “Old Vines” on a wine label it typically means that the wine you’re about to drink has been made from grapes produced from vines that are at least
35-50 years old. Not to say that there aren’t older vines, some vines planted in the early 1800’s are still producing grapes today!
The term “Old Vines” is not regulated by the government meaning that a producer is free to use the term regardless of how old their vines are. It seems though that producers are diligent in keeping faithful to the term by limiting their usage to those wines made from grape vines not younger than 35-40 years.
Are wines produced from these “Old Vines” better?
For the most part, yes! I say for the most part because ultimately the fate of a great wine lies in the hands of both knowledge and practice of good grape growing as well as winemaking techniques. Wines made from old vines are fundamentally better than those made from young vines…or younger vines I should say. Most vines don’t produce grapes suitable for winemaking for at least 10 years after they’ve been planted. Vines that are 25-50 years old will typically produce really good wines and those from vines that are older, say 100-120 years will produce some really spectacular wines.
As these vines get older they tend to move a little slower (much like us!) thus producing less grapes. However though, the grapes they do produce are essentially more fruit concentrated with intense flavor. Also it’s believed that since the roots of these vines have become so deeply embedded into the ground trace elements from the soil…or terroir actually make there way into the fruit giving them a deeper earthy complex flavor.
Grape Growing and Wine Making Tips: