How old are the grapes

How does the age of the vines influence the quality of the wine?

Wines from old vines are generally considered rare and of high quality. Old vines are generally understood to be vines that are at least 30 years old. However, there is no uniform definition of the term “old vines” under wine law.

The yield from a grapevine decreases with age. From the age of 50 at the latest, vines are therefore considered uneconomical for winemakers. For this reason, vines that are more than 30 years old are rarely cultivated in a vine. On the other hand, these plants have developed deep and widely ramified roots over the years. This enables old vines to supply their grapes with more minerals. Thanks to their deep roots, old vines are also less sensitive to drought and other climatic factors. Because the plant can also distribute more nutrients to fewer grapes, high-quality wines with intense, complex aromas can be obtained from the grapes of old vines. For this reason, wines from "old vines" are considered to be particularly exclusive.

Although vines with an age of 30 or 40 years are already considered old, there are individual vines that have even reached an age of over 80 or 100 years. Certain California Zinfandel vines were planted as early as the 19th century and are still bearing grapes. In Spain, too, vines from this period still grow; they have survived the so-called phylloxera disaster. The European wine stocks were radically decimated by the pest infestation in the second half of the 19th century.

The Stara Trta vine in Maribor in Slovenia is considered to be the world's oldest still sprouting and annual fruit-bearing vine. From the more than 400 year old Stara Trta, which comes from the red grape variety Žametovka, up to 50 kilos of grapes are still harvested and pressed into wine every year. The so-called "Urrebe" in Margreid in South Tyrol is said to be even older; it was planted as a house grape in 1601 and carries a variety of table grapes. The 350-year-old Versoaln vine, which also grows in South Tyrol, is considered the largest vine in Europe and produces an exclusive white wine of the same name every year, of which only 600 to 700 numbered bottles are produced annually.