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 into extinction. The KWV era which held sway for most of the 20th century ordained that volume was the highway to value. Growers were paid a fixed price based on tonnage, rather than on the quality of their fruit. The smartest amongst them moved to where sunlight and water were plentiful, pumped up their yields, and, in the immortal words of Evita, watched “while the money kept rolling in.”

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