Old Vine Project

Old vines make wines that reflect the earth and the terroir they grow in. They reflect the scorching summers and the long, icy cold, rainy Cape winter days they have endured over decades. They exist because of the people who touched and tended them over many years.

Wines from old vines reflect the vast and varied landscape of South Africa – from the red sandy soils at Skurfberg where the winds of the Benguela Current cool the vines in summer, down to Cape Point, into the beautiful shrubby Klein Karoo, to the slopes of the Helderberg and as far as the dry arid region of Oudtshoorn. Old vines often reflect the lives and the culture of the people – the fishermen on the coast, the sheep farmers inland, the wheat farmers of the Swartland and the fruit farmers of Piekenierskloof – and are often preserved by sentiment rather than budgets. Old vines and the wines they make are a monument to the farmer’s love of his land.

There are 10 vineyards in South Africa older than 100 years (a vine is called an old vine when it is 35 years and older). The Old Vine Project (OVP) wants to preserve as many old vines in South Africa as possible. We believe that many of the 3 693 hectares of old vines could make wine with a special character and purity. We believe that older vines bring another dimension, a new character that tells a story of our land, our culture and our history.

The OVP wants to focus the minds of winegrowers, winemakers and all wine drinkers on the benefits that come with age in vines. We want to create a culture of caring for vines at all ages, from young to old. The chance of vines getting old is so much better if you care for them properly in their youth! We want young vines to be able to grow old and not suffer from viruses or diseases, or sudden death in their youth.

We also believe that the renewed focus on the quality that old vines in South Africa can give will help to raise the price of grapes in our country. Hopefully an increased price for grapes will contribute to better pay and living conditions for our farm workers.