At the end of June 2023 on Zoom, The Old Vine Registry – the first registry of its kind worldwide – was launched by Jancis Robinson MW and her team. The launch came with a call to winegrowers around the world to contribute to this invaluable online database. But who is the registry aimed at and what purpose does it serve? Read on to find out more about this incredible collaborative, open-access project.
- The driving forces behind The Old Vine Registry
- How can you contribute to the website?
- Which vines can be registered?
- What are the aims?
- Who is the registry aimed at and what is its purpose?
The driving forces behind The Old Vine Registry
The catalyst for the project is one of the world’s most renowned and fascinating Masters of Wine (MW), Jancis Robinson. In the 2000s, she and her team were writing articles about the heritage of old vines. Gradually, they began building up a registry on a simple spreadsheet. The aim was to monitor old vineyards and their resultant wines in a world where old vines were underrated, and under threat. It became patently clear that they are a part of our historic, cultural and scientific heritage. Concurrently with this, on the other side of the globe, in South Africa, Rosa Kruger – the founder and current chair of the Old Vine Project – was focusing on old vines in the Cape. And quite rightly so. As Kruger stressed during the conference, “Here, you cannot sell wines if the vines have not been registered and this has been the case since 1900”. A basic list gradually grew over time and help was recruited, with the launch of the Old Vine Conference by Sarah Abbott MW expediting the process.
Now, in just a few clicks on the website www.oldvineregistry.org, you can discover all the vineyards already listed. In France, for example, the oldest registered vineyard dates back to 1800. It is located in the Pessac-Léognan appellation area in Bordeaux.
How can you contribute to the website?
Everybody is encouraged to contribute, whether it’s your own old vineyard or one you are familiar with. If you cannot find it in the database, you simply have to fill out the online form to submit suggestions for adding entries to the registry. By providing as much information as possible, the database will remain dynamic and continue to grow.
Which vines can be registered?
To be registered, vines must be at least 35 years old. The minimum age criterion is one used by several organisations worldwide, including The Old Vine Conference, the South Africa Old Vine Project, the Barossa Valley’s Old Vine Charter, and many more.
What are the aims?
The primary aim is to become the most reliable and in-depth source of information about old-vine vineyards worldwide. But the objective is also to connect people with vineyards in order to ensure, both directly and indirectly, their preservation. As American blogger and contributor to jancisrobinson.com, Alder Yarrow pointed out, “If nobody’s actually buying, tasting and enjoying and helping us evangelise those vineyards, they will never be commercially viable and will be ripped out.
Who is the registry aimed at and what is its purpose?
It is aimed at vine and wine students, researchers and wine enthusiasts keen to improve their knowledge of the pours they drink and to encourage them to seek out more wines from old vines. But it is also about connecting the people who buy wine with those who maintain vineyards, ultimately enhancing the economic value of the vines and generating more profit for the winegrowers who farm them. As jancisrobinson.com editor-in-chief Tamlyn Currin pointed out, “We love stories of old vines because they are beautiful, but most importantly, they hold valuable heritage. They offer resilience. We can learn a lot of secrets about them”.
Sources : www.oldvineregistry.org,©lorenza62/AdobeStock