Old Vine

March 21, 2023 by
Maytte Rivera

After a vine is planted, it takes about three years for it to produce fruit suitable for wine making. The plant is considered an “adult” from 7 to 10 years old, its most productive age in terms of quantity of grape bunches.  As the vine ages, it decreases the number of grapes it produces but increases the concentration of flavor compounds.  A plant is considered an “old vine” when it is more than 25 years old, but grapevines can stay active for more than 100 years.  In fact, the oldest living grapevine known today is a 400-year-old rare variety grown in Maribor, Slovenia!

Even though they produce less fruit, some winemakers prefer these vines as they require less maintenance, and the wines tend to be richly flavored with silky tannins.  In the Lodi region of California, Gnarly Head produces Zinfandel from 40-year-old vines.  For a taste of an old vine white variety, try Bucci Castelli di Jesi, made from 37 year old Verdicchio.  If you really want to go “old”, decant a bottle of Miguel Torres “Manso de Velasco”, made from Cabernet Sauvignon vines planted in 1902 in Chile!

Author: Maytte Rivera

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