Thanks to the outstanding work of Rosa Kruger and Andre Morgenthal, I am very fortunate to work with some of our country’s finest old vines. Rosa and Andre are largely responsible for preserving these vineyards, and their work is a great success story in South Africa’s recent vinous history. I am proud to be a member of their Old Vine Project.
To qualify as “Old Vines” or Heritage Vineyards, they need to be 35 years and older. These vines carry less fruit than a younger vineyard, most of my older vineyards yielding between 3 - 7 tons per hectare. This depends on the soil, cultivar, the age of vineyards and if it is dry-land or irrigated.
Chenin Blanc and Semillon typically range between 3 and 5 tons per hectare, whereas Cinsault is a vigorous grower, so we aim for about 6 tons a hectare of this varietal. Monitoring these vineyards is very important. In order to keep them healthy and balanced we also have to understand the area and its terroir. It’s challenging and time consuming, but very rewarding.
My aim with these wines is really to do as little as possible. ‘Minimal interference’ is a term thrown around a lot, but in this case it’s spot on. We’re trying to show the terroir and the style and place of the vineyard. As the saying goes, we’re “taking a liquid photograph of a specific ecosystem and putting that in a bottle”.
To learn more about the Old Vine Project and South Africa’s Certifed Heritage Vineyards, please visit www.iamold.co.za