Are Old Vines Worth the Hype?

Have you ever wondered if old vines are truly worth the hype? If you’re a fan of old vine wines, then this article is for you! Join us as we explore the world of old vines and discover a wine (and a region) that’s definitely worth knowing about for its exceptional quality and value. In this article, we’ll delve into the characteristics and flavors of old vine wines, and even take a closer look at the specific wine in question. So, grab a glass and get ready to learn all about the fascinating world of old vines and the incredible wines they produce!

When it comes to old vine wines, one cannot ignore the rich history and heritage that these vines represent. They are a testament to the revival of traditional winemaking methods and the preservation of ancient grape varieties. In this episode, we will explore the color, structure, and flavor profile of a particular wine that pays homage to the legacy of old vines. With its medium garnet color and powerful legs, this wine exudes maturity and strength. Prepare your palate for a full-bodied experience with fresh acidity and a rich palette of dark fruits. As we decipher the intricate balance of ripe tannins and refreshing power, we’ll also try to unravel the mystery of its origin. Is it a cabernet from Napa Valley, sarra from Paso Robel, Zinfandel from Amador County, or malbec from Mendoza, Argentina? Get ready for a thrilling journey through the world of old vine wines.

What are old vines?

Old vines, as the name suggests, refers to grapevines that are significantly older than the average age of vines in a vineyard. While there is no set definition for how old a vine must be to be considered “old,” it generally refers to vines that are at least 35 to 40 years old. These vines have stood the test of time and have continued to produce grapes, resulting in wines that are often highly sought after by wine enthusiasts.

Definition of old vines

The term “old vines” is not legally defined in most wine-producing regions, which has led to some confusion and variations in its usage. Different winemakers and regions may have their own criteria for what qualifies as old vines. However, in general, old vines are considered to be grapevines that have reached a certain age where they have developed deep root systems and have lower yields, resulting in wines that often display unique characteristics.

Characteristics of old vines

Old vines are known for their ability to produce concentrated and complex wines. Due to their age, these vines have deeper and more established root systems, allowing them to access nutrients and water from deeper layers of the soil. This results in grapes with a higher concentration of flavors and aromas. Additionally, old vines tend to have lower yields, which can further contribute to the intensity and depth of the resulting wines.

Significance of old vines in winemaking

Old vines hold a special place in winemaking due to their ability to produce wines with exceptional quality and character. The combination of deep root systems, lower yields, and the accumulated wisdom of the vine over the years contributes to the unique expression of terroir and the specific grape variety. The wines produced from old vines often showcase a sense of place and history, and they have the potential to age gracefully for many years.

The myths and misconceptions

When it comes to old vines, there are several myths and misconceptions that have developed over time. Let’s take a closer look at some of these misconceptions and debunk them.

Higher quality

One common misconception is that wines made from old vines are always of higher quality compared to wines made from younger vines. While it is true that old vines can produce exceptional wines, the age of the vines alone is not a guarantee of quality. Many factors, such as vineyard management, winemaking techniques, and the overall terroir, play crucial roles in determining the quality of the wine.

Greater complexity

Another misconception is that wines from old vines are inherently more complex than wines from younger vines. Complexity in wine is influenced by various factors, including grape variety, vineyard practices, and winemaking techniques. While old vines can contribute to complexity due to their lower yields and deep root systems, it is not a guarantee. The skill of the winemaker and the unique characteristics of the terroir also play significant roles in the complexity of the final wine.

Unique characteristics

Old vines are often associated with producing wines that have unique and distinct characteristics. While it is true that old vines can contribute to the development of certain flavor and aroma profiles, it is essential to remember that each vineyard and grape variety will have its own set of unique characteristics. Old vines may enhance and highlight these characteristics, but they do not automatically create entirely new and distinct flavors and aromas.

Are Old Vines Worth the Hype?

The truth behind old vines

While there may be misconceptions surrounding old vines, there are some essential truths that can help us understand their significance in winemaking.

Age vs. quality

The age of the vines alone does not determine the quality of the wine. It is a combination of factors, including proper vineyard management, terroir, and the expertise of the winemaker. While old vines have the potential to produce exceptional wines, it is crucial to consider the holistic approach to winemaking instead of solely relying on the age of the vines.

Terroir influence

Old vines have had more time to adapt to their specific terroir, which refers to the combination of soil type, climate, and other environmental factors. This deep-rooted connection with the terroir allows old vines to express the unique characteristics of the vineyard and the region. The resulting wines often showcase a sense of place and a distinct flavor profile that is reflective of the terroir.

Winemaker’s skill

The winemaker plays an integral role in harnessing the potential of old vines. Their expertise and understanding of the vineyard and winemaking techniques can influence the final product. A skilled winemaker knows how to work with old vines, adjusting vineyard practices and winemaking methods to highlight the strengths and unique characteristics of these vines.

Proper vineyard management

Proper vineyard management is crucial for ensuring the long-term health and productivity of old vines. This includes regular pruning, soil management, and disease prevention. By providing the necessary care and attention, vineyard managers can help old vines continue to produce exceptional grapes and maintain their quality over time.

The value proposition

Old vine wines often come with a higher price tag compared to wines from younger vines. Understanding the factors that contribute to this premium pricing can help wine enthusiasts decide whether investing in old vine wines is worth it.

Understanding the price

The higher price of old vine wines can be attributed to various factors. Firstly, the lower yields of old vines mean that less wine is produced, resulting in a limited supply. Additionally, the age and uniqueness of these vines, along with the quality and character of the wines they produce, contribute to their higher value. Finally, the expertise and reputation of the winemakers and the region can also impact the price of old vine wines.

Worth the investment?

Deciding whether old vine wines are worth the investment ultimately comes down to personal preference and the value one places on the unique characteristics and history associated with these wines. For those who appreciate the complexity and richness that old vines can bring to a wine, investing in these wines can be a rewarding experience. However, it is essential to consider factors such as budget, availability, and individual taste preferences before making a decision.

Are Old Vines Worth the Hype?

Old vine varieties and regions

Old vine wines can be found in numerous grape varieties and regions around the world. Some grape varieties are particularly well-known for their ability to produce exceptional wines from old vines.

Popular old vine varieties

Zinfandel, Grenache, Syrah, and Carignan are among the popular grape varieties often associated with old vine wines. These varieties have shown a remarkable ability to thrive and produce concentrated and expressive wines as the vines age.

Notable old vine regions

Certain wine regions have gained recognition for their old vine wines. Some notable examples include the Barossa Valley in Australia, Priorat in Spain, and the Rhône Valley in France. These regions have embraced the potential of old vines and have crafted wines that showcase the unique characteristics of their respective terroirs.

Tasting old vine wines

Tasting old vine wines can be a captivating experience due to their unique flavor profiles, aromas, and textures.

Flavor profiles

Old vine wines often exhibit intense and concentrated flavors. Red wines made from old vines may showcase dark fruits such as blackberries, black cherries, and plums, often with hints of spice and earthiness. White wines can display stone fruits, citrus, and tropical notes, complemented by a rich underlying texture.


The aromas of old vine wines are also distinctive. Red wines may present aromas of ripe berries, dried herbs, and hints of leather or tobacco. White wines can display floral notes, citrus zest, and sometimes a touch of honey or nuttiness.


One of the defining characteristics of old vine wines is their texture. Due to the lower yields and concentrated flavors, these wines often have a fuller body and a velvety or silky mouthfeel. The tannins in red wines from old vines are typically well-integrated, providing structure and aging potential.

Are Old Vines Worth the Hype?

The aging potential

Aging potential is an important consideration for wine collectors and enthusiasts. Old vine wines have often been associated with longevity, but it is essential to understand the factors that contribute to their aging potential.

Do old vines age better?

Old vines are often revered for their ability to produce wines that can age gracefully for extended periods. The combination of lower yields, concentrated flavors, and well-integrated tannins can contribute to the aging potential of these wines. However, it is important to note that not all old vine wines are meant to be aged. Some wines are crafted to be enjoyed in their youth and may not benefit from extended aging.

Factors affecting aging potential

Various factors can influence the aging potential of old vine wines. These include the grape variety, the specific vineyard site, the winemaking techniques employed, and the overall balance and structure of the wine. It is advisable to consult with knowledgeable wine professionals or refer to tasting notes and reviews to determine the aging potential of a specific old vine wine.

The sustainability factor

Preserving old vines is not only important for the production of exceptional wines but also for the sustainability and biodiversity of vineyard ecosystems.

Benefits of preserving old vines

Preserving old vines offers several ecological and environmental benefits. Old vines have deep root systems that help prevent soil erosion, maintain soil health, and promote water conservation. These vines also provide habitats for various beneficial organisms and contribute to the overall biodiversity of the vineyard ecosystem.

Challenges of maintaining old vines

Maintaining old vines can present some challenges for vineyard owners and managers. Old vines require diligent care and attention, including pruning, disease management, and nurturing their long-term health. Additionally, the lower productivity of old vines means that vineyard owners may need to dedicate more resources to these vines without a corresponding increase in yield.

Old vines and climate change

The impact of climate change on vineyards is a growing concern in the wine industry. Old vines, with their deep root systems and adaptability, play a unique role in addressing this issue.

Impact of climate change on old vines

Climate change can affect the viability and health of grapevines, including old vines. Rising temperatures, changing weather patterns, and extreme weather events can disrupt the delicate balance required for optimal grape production. However, old vines, with their well-established root systems, may be more resilient to these challenges and better able to withstand the effects of climate change.

Adaptation strategies

Vineyard owners and winemakers are increasingly exploring adaptation strategies to mitigate the impact of climate change on their vineyards. This includes the selection of suitable grape varieties, innovative vineyard management techniques, and the preservation and utilization of old vine resources. By leveraging the unique characteristics and adaptability of old vines, vineyard owners can better navigate the changing climatic conditions and continue producing high-quality wines.


Old vines hold a special place in the world of winemaking, offering wines that are often highly regarded for their quality, character, and aging potential. While there may be misconceptions surrounding old vines, understanding their characteristics, the truth behind their value, and their importance in addressing sustainability and climate change can enhance the appreciation and enjoyment of these exceptional wines. Whether you are already a fan of old vine wines or considering exploring them, the world of old vines offers a fascinating and rewarding wine journey.