logo
g Text Version
Beauty & Self
Books & Music
Career
Computers
Education
Family
Food & Wine
Health & Fitness
Hobbies & Crafts
Home & Garden
Money
News & Politics
Relationships
Religion & Spirituality
Sports
Travel & Culture
TV & Movies

dailyclick
Bored? Games!
Nutrition
Postcards
Take a Quiz
Rate My Photo

new
European Travel
Action Movies
Bible Basics
Houseplants
Romance Movies
Creativity
Family Travel


dailyclick
All times in EST

Full Schedule
g
g Wine Site

BellaOnline's Wine Editor

g

What does Old Vines Mean?


A reader emailed me to ask the meaning of the words 'old vine' on their bottle of Zinfandel. They wanted to know 'how old' and whether old vines were better.

The phrase ‘old vines’, or ‘Vieille Vignes’ on French labels, implies that the wine is made from old grape vines but there is no agreed definition of how old a vine has to be and there is no legal control on its use.

Vines can be productive for more than 100 years and old vines are considered by many to produce more intense and complex wines because they produce fewer grapes and thus the flavour is concentrated. And because less juice per vine is produced the resulting wine is more expensive.

In 1999 the United States Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms (BATF - now renamed Alcohol Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau TTB) who regulate wine labels said it was going to make a ruling on the use of the words ‘old vines’ but in the end left it to the industry.

Several wine producers adopted alternative phrases. Dry Creek uses ‘Heritage Clone’ and Rodney Strong Vineyards uses ‘Knotty Vine’ for their Zinfandels. Charles L Sullivan interviewed winemakers in California for his 2002 book Zinfandel – A History of a Grape and its Wine and wrote “most of those interviewed have expressed an opinion that forty years should be the absolute minimum age”, although he would “prefer at least seventy-five years”.*

So it comes down to how much you trust the winery. From a reputable winery, then assume the vines are something special but, unless they say on the back label or on their web-site, you don't know how old those vines are.

So, 'Old Vine' means exactly whatever the winery wants it to mean – it is a marketing tool, nothing more.

Agree or disagree?, please share your comments on our forum.

* Sullivan, Charles L. Zinfandel: a History of a Grape and Its Wine. Berkeley: University of California, 2003. – Link below





Peter F May is the author of Marilyn Merlot and the Naked Grape: Odd Wines from Around the World which features more than 100 wine labels and the stories behind them, and PINOTAGE: Behind the Legends of South Africa’s Own Wine which tells the story behind the Pinotage wine and grape. Now available as a Kindle eBook, click link on left




Add What+does+Old+Vines+Mean%3F to Twitter Add What+does+Old+Vines+Mean%3F to Facebook Add What+does+Old+Vines+Mean%3F to MySpace Add What+does+Old+Vines+Mean%3F to Del.icio.us Digg What+does+Old+Vines+Mean%3F Add What+does+Old+Vines+Mean%3F to Yahoo My Web Add What+does+Old+Vines+Mean%3F to Google Bookmarks Add What+does+Old+Vines+Mean%3F to Stumbleupon Add What+does+Old+Vines+Mean%3F to Reddit




RSS | Related Articles | Editor's Picks Articles | Top Ten Articles | Previous Features | Site Map


For FREE email updates, subscribe to the Wine Newsletter


Past Issues


print
Printer Friendly
bookmark
Bookmark
tell friend
Tell a Friend
forum
Forum
email
Email Editor


Content copyright © 2014 by Peter F May. All rights reserved.
This content was written by Peter F May. If you wish to use this content in any manner, you need written permission. Contact Peter F May for details.

g


g features
Closing the Bottle

World Wine & Food Tour - France

World Wine & Food Tour - Austria

Archives | Site Map

forum
Forum
email
Contact

Past Issues
memberscenter


vote
Poetry
Daily
Weekly
Monthly
Less than Monthly



BellaOnline on Facebook
g


| About BellaOnline | Privacy Policy | Advertising | Become an Editor |
Website copyright © 2014 Minerva WebWorks LLC. All rights reserved.


BellaOnline Editor