The winemaker/proposed member must be a paid-up member of the Old Vine Project (OVP), annually.
The wine must be made from a vineyard or vineyards 35 year and older and registered with SAWIS.
Vineyards must be certified with SAWIS as ‘Singe Vineyard’ under the Wine of Origin Scheme
or certified by the OVP (vineyards exceeding six hectares or field blends).
Adhere to sustainable viticultural practices according to OVP guidelines.
The ‘Old Vine’ blocks need to align with requirements as set out by the OVP. The blocks need to be registered on a valid SAWIS 1 document upon which an application can be submitted to SAWIS for an ‘Old Vine Single Vineyard’ registration on a BG1 document (all obtainable from SAWIS).
SAWIS will add a note to their Single Vineyard table along with the block name (producer/winemaker to provide). Updates are required annually before October.
As a member of the OVP, copies of the Single Vineyard certificates need to be submitted to the OVP for their records on an annual basis.
- Single Vineyard wineIn order to qualify as a Single Vineyard wine, the wine needs to be produced on a separate WS document (number) and to further qualify as Old Vine the block needs to be 35 years and older (as per OVP criteria). It is imperative for the producer to indicate Old Vine on the BG1 Single Vineyard application.
- Blending of Single Vineyard winesWines blended and produced from different Old Vine blocks and on separate WS statements are allowed, given that all the blocks meet the OVP criteria.
- Co-harvested/vinified Old Vine grapesThe vineyard blocks used in this case need to be certified with the OVP. The blocks do not have to be vinified separately or have separate WS production statements (in the case of field blends).
However, the specific farm number, block information (as per SAWIS 1) and tonnage need to be recorded on the harvest register and Old Vine clearly indicated on the WS statement.
Once the certification process has been confirmed, the producer will qualify to display the OVP Certification seal/logo on the relevant bottles/labels. At this point the seal/logo can be ordered from the OVP.
Where blocks are co-harvested/vinified, the Single Vineyard status is not allowed.
Vinification and viticultural guidelines
Winemakers and relevant viticulturists need to follow the guidelines as set out on the OVP website:
Follow a holistic approach to weed control with the use of cover crops to control weeds in the work row and control weeds on the vine row by means of herbicides, mulching or manual removal.
Investment in soil health (soil samples and rectifying of any imbalances).
Movement from inorganic fertilisers to organic fertilisers.
Follow a pruning strategy to ensure no big wounds are made (no extreme cutting back of old wood).
Follow a suckering (summer pruning) strategy to ensure good sunlight penetration, as well as protection of grapes (ensuring fewer pruning wounds for the next season).
Monitoring and controlling grapevine mealy bug and ants (to prevent the further spread of grapevine leafroll virus vectors).
Wines made from old vineyards should be given the chance to reflect their specific terroir. They seldom produce wines with upfront fruit, but are more focused on mouthfeel, length and texture.
A minimalistic approach towards winemaking is thus encouraged. This includes not adding wood staves, acid and sulphur, or using monoculture commercial yeast strains.
Preferably no new wood should be used, as it dominates the unique characteristics of the wine.
The wines from old vineyards are also unique in the way that they seldom produce wines with upfront fruit, but are more focused on mouthfeel, length and texture.
Marketing, sales and trade guidelines
The old vine wines need to be sold at a premium, which will benefit the grower and enhance the image of old vine wines.
Old vine wines should preferably be packaged with this in mind, for example not in a box format.
OVP members will be offered the opportunity to participate in collective marketing activities, for example tastings, vineyard tours, auctions and media engagement. Members are obliged to participate if practically and financially possible.