South Africa’s Old Vines are helping its winemaking future

The Old Vine Project in South Africa is an attempt to both discover vines and help make wines from vineyards that go back 35 years or more, but also convince growers and buyers that these vines need to be protected and nurtured. Su Birch talks to Andre Morgenthal and Jaco Engelbrecht who have got behind the initiative to ensure it achieves its ambitious goals.

By Su Birch |

Mulching and soil temperatures

We have a little experiment on a farm in the Voor-Perdeberg area. It is a block of Cabernet Sauvignon with supplementary irrigation (not the one in the photo, that is Cinsaut for The Blacksmith Barebones). The soil form is Klapmuts of the Malmesbury Shale family, with a moderate water permeability.

By Jaco Engelbrecht |

MIichael Fridjhon: How to save Sa’s old vines

The plight of old vines, or more correctly, of the owners of old vineyards, has been in the media lately. It is becoming increasingly clear that, pretty much at the same time as we have discovered the joy of wines made with fruit harvested from old vines, we’re about to watch our heritage vineyards vanish…


André Morgenthal and myself met up with the bloke from Bishops in the Bottelary Hills early this morning. Our mission for the day was to discuss the economics of old vines and to visit some of these vineyards. It was a stunning day to be out in the office, with the sunrise blessing the stunning hills in Bottelary.

By Jaco Engelbrecht |