What is the Old Vine Project?
All plants and people carry a record of their surroundings and happenings, whether it's tree trunk rings, personal diaries or pieces of artwork – they should all be kept as treasures of the past and advice for the future. Having seen on her travels how other countries preserve their wonderful old vines, Rosa Kruger began her search for South Africa's in 2002. Sixteen years and 3,303 hectares of gnarly vines later, the Old Vine Project launched its Certified Heritage Vineyards seal to place on bottles of wine made from vineyards aged 35 years or older, together with the planting date.
Kaapzicht Bush Vine Chenin Blanc is one of them, made with vines planted in 1982. The OVP also encourages growers how best to care for younger vines, helping avoid diseases and viruses so that one day they become old too.
Do old vines make better wine?
"I believe they very often do," says Rosa. "Age in vines brings an intensity, a perceived freshness, a texture and a sense of place. They show less fresh fruit and varietal character, and more terroir and soil."
They could also make life a little better for growers, as a renewed focus on the quality that these old vines can give will hopefully increase the price of grapes and contribute to better pay and living conditions for vineyard workers. So, look out for the Certified Heritage Vineyards seal and enjoy your glass of wine, knowing you're championing quality, integrity, tradition and community.