Did you know, that for a vine to qualify as an Old Vine in South Africa, it has to be 35 years or older? These vines are known for having 30% more roots on average than younger vines – which is most probably the reason why they have survived varying weather conditions for more than three decades. To acknowledge these vines and support their protection, the Michelangelo International Wine & Spirits Awards has created an opportunity for wines produced from Old Vines to be entered in the 2020 competition.  

Says Michelangelo Founder and Organiser of the competition, Lorraine Immelman, “We believe that these wines should be honoured and awarded for their tenacity.”

Wine from these Old Vines are easily recognisable as they carry a South African Wine Industry Information and Systems (SAWIS) Certified Heritage Vineyards Seal. This means that every bottle of Old Vine wine can also be traced and monitored back to the individual vines from which it originated.

Makers of these noble wines may enter their wines online, indicating their Old Vine status. Entries from Old Vine wine producers will be judged alongside other varietals in the same class, concluding in a final round of tasting to determine the 2020 top-scoring Old Vine wine which will receive a special award.

OVP Founder and South African viticulturist, Rosa Kruger, says, “These are vines with the backbone to make good structured, textured wines. A 35-year old vine in South Africa knows how to live. It knows how to make wine and you have to do very little with it. They have learned from the experiences they have been through. In Europe, the vines might have to be 45 to 48 years old to get to the same level.”

Working alongside Kruger is OVP Project Manager, André Morgenthal, who shares that old vines are spread over ten regions in South Africa, including the Klein Karoo, Olifantsrivier, Swartland, Paarl and Stellenbosch. “The majority of Old Vine wines under the OVP’s protection are Chenin Blanc, but a myriad of relatively unknowns fill the 80-member strong OVP list: Weldra, Kanaan and Fernaos Pires, amongst others.”

Old Vines are under severe threat as they are replaced by olive or citrus trees or by younger, more popular and financially viable cultivars – which is all the more reason to honour them!” concludes Immelman.

Entries for the Michelangelo International Wine & Spirits Awards close on 31 July 2020. To enter your OVP wine  for the chance to access new sales opportunities and gain wider brand recognition, go to https://maiwsa.co.za/