Did you ever wonder why people "in the know" get excited when they talk about old vines? No, this isn't a spelling error. Talking about old vines, not old wines! Old wines are certainly a very exciting topic to talk about, but I leave that for a different day, different blog. Today I want to tell you a bit more about vines, why age matters, the different clones, water, soil et cetera. The subject can certainly be a very lengthy one, but as you know me, I am not planning on that.
So, first things first. Age! Vine and age is actually pretty interesting, almost funny. And here is why. Vines were planted in California with the arrivals of European immigrants and wine was started to be enjoyed until the prohibition period. With restrictions and the difficulty to export, most vintners at that time switched to tougher grape varietals for better shipping.
After the prohibition it took until the 70's before great wine was made again. As time moved on, having nice "in line" rows of vines, the "old vines" were often pulled out and replaced by new ones. Some did that because old vines don't offer the same amount of grape juice (less clusters of wine). These days, people wished they still had these old, distressed vines. They may produce less wine, however the quality and depth of those wine produced is stunning.
Reasoning for that old vines often have very deep root systems which allows to "inject" the grapes with soil and terroir like no young vine can offer. You see, vines are very lazy and don't like to work hard. That's why it is important not to offer them to much water at ease, so that they are forced to dig deep into the ground for water.
Since this turned out to be a longer blog than I thought, I will finish this with the different clones in my next blog.