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Nowadays, the term "Old Vines" can be found on many different types of wine labels.  The concept of old vines varies from region to region, being different in Alentejo, Douro, or Azores, for example. A wine that comes from old vines in the Alentejo may relate to ones that have been planted between 30 and 50 years ago and, in the Douro, it may mean vines that are 100 or 200 years old. 

 

What are Old Vines?

Old vines are vines that were planted a long time ago in a particular region and are usually very well suited to the region. Old vine planting is more common in a mixed variety vineyard.

In the past, it was considered an added value to plant several grape varieties in the same plot for a number of reasons, for example:

  • The complementary characteristics of the grape varieties, such as colour, texture, and volume, were seen as the secret to producing quality wines;
     
  • In the case of pests or diseases in the vineyard, as some varieties were more susceptible to disease than others, the yield was guaranteed every year;
     
  • In cold years, when the alcoholic maturation of the grapes was insufficient, the existence of white varieties, which had a shorter vegetative cycle and consequently a greater alcoholic maturation, allowed the alcoholic strength of the current vintage wine to be increased.
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