Old Vine Day Date in the current year: August 1, 2024

Old Vine Day Old Vine Day is observed around the globe on August 1 to celebrate vineyards that are several decades old. It was initiated by the Old Vine Project, a South African nonprofit that certifies the plant dates of old vineyards.

Grape vines can grow for more than a century, but the percentage of notably old vines is relatively low because after about two decades vines start to produce smaller yields and become harder to take care of. However, many wine growers maintain at least some of the older vines growing in their vineyards because there is a general consensus that properly handled older vines produce better and more intense wines.

There is no generally agreed definition for old vines; the meaning behind the term largely depends on the wine region. In newly established wine regions, a 20-year-old vine might be regarded as old. In places with a longstanding tradition of wine production, vines that were planted 30 to 40 years ago are considered old. The term “old vines” might apply to an entire vineyard or only to certain vines that were planted before others.

Some old vines are hundreds of years old. The world’s oldest vine that still produces grapes grows in Maribor, Slovenia. It is a Žametovka vine that is believed to have been planted sometime in the 17th century. Its annual yield is only about 30 to 55 kg of grapes, which are used to produce 100 miniature bottles of red wine.

The world’s oldest vine with a fully authenticated age, as well as the world’s largest one, is the Great Vine at Hampton Court Palace in London. It was planted at its current site in 1768. The vine still produces a considerable harvest every autumn; its average yield is about 272 kg, but the autumn of 2001 saw a record yield of 383 kg.

The term “old vine” on a wine label generally indicates that a wine is special, but the quality of such wines may vary greatly depending on the producer because there is no legal definition of old vines or universally accepted industry standards for wines from old vineyards. Generally, the more reputable the producer, the more reasonable it is to expect a perceptible difference in character compared to “regular” wines.

The history of the Old Vine Project (OVP) dates back to 2002, when South African vineyard manager Rose Kruger started to catalog old vines. Fourteen years later, she launched the OVP to raise awareness of the potential of old vines to produce excellent wines, demonstrate the benefits of preserving and certifying vineyards that are 35 years and older, and build the Old Vine category in South Africa.

The inaugural Old Vine Day was celebrated on August 1, 2022; its date was chosen to commemorate the OVP’s founding anniversary. The holiday gives wine lovers in South Africa and around the globe the opportunity to celebrate old vines and enjoy exquisite wines from the world’s oldest vineyards.

Great ways to celebrate Old Vine Day include learning interesting facts about the oldest vines and vineyards in the world, splurging on a bottle of wine with the old vine label, taking a trip to an old vineyard, and spreading the word about the holiday on social media with the hashtag #OldVineDay.

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Old Vine Day, Old Vine Project, international observances, wine-related holidays, old vines