Wine Word of the Week: Old vines

By Kori ~ March 13th, 2010.

This week’s Wine Word of the Week is old vines.

Official definition from Jancis Robinson’s The Oxford Companion to Wine:
Old vines are reputed to produce grapes which make better quality wine. The concept that older vines make better wine is much used in marketing wine in the Old World and has more recently been adopted by some California and Barossa Valley producers. Conversely, some winemakers observe that young vineyards produce their highest-quality wine in the first year or two of production, perhaps at least partly because yields are relatively low at this point.

Layman’s terms from Kori:
Old vines is a term typically used to imply a wine is of high quality. However, while mature vines can produce excellent wines, it is certainly not a given. And since there is no legal definition of the term, there is really no way to know whether a bottle labeled as old vines is made from 20 year-old vines or 120 year-old vines. The French term for old vines is vieilles vignes.

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