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Old Vines with Drew Noon MW and Rachel Williams

This show was published 06 May 2022


In this episode we explore old vines. Rachel Williams has set up a register for Old Vines in McLaren Vale which starts at vines aged 35 years and older but typically the vines being recorded are 50+ years up to 125+ years for the purpose of the register.

There is no real legal definition of how old a vine must be to be categorised as old!

As a generalisation a vine reaches full production in 5-7 years, but irrigation and fertilisation can speed that up in modern vineyards to 4-5 years. From full production of 5-7 years the wine can keep going to 40-60 years and from then the vine and yield will slowly decline, often due to dead arm spores (a fungus) which works it way into the trunk of the vine. As the yield of the vine drops off, often the vines are grubbed up and the vineyard re-planted. But not if the producer has quality in mind.

So, why keep the old vines when productivity goes down? It is generally agreed amongst wine producers that older vines tend to make better quality wines, in terms of complexity of flavour and depth of flavour versus wine from a younger vine. Hence a premium can be charged for old vine wines.


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