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Members of South Africa’s Old Vine Project now able to put heritage seal on bottles

Published:  23 April, 2018

Members of South Africa’s Old Vine Project (OVP) have been given the clear to put a Certified Heritage Vineyards (CHV) seal on wine bottles made from vineyards that are 35 years old (or older).

With the first wines bearing the seal starting to appear on retail shelves around the world now, together with dozens of other wines celebrating the Cape's rich heritage of old vines, they will be showcased at a function in Stellenbosch on 20 April 2018, where the CHV seal will be introduced to trade and media.

The change signalled a “crucial step forward" for OVP and its mission to preserve cape vines older than 35 years, said the organisation, adding this also meant developing the culture of caring for younger vines too, so they could "look forward to a healthy and productive old age”.

The launch of the CHV seal, which OVP claims to make South Africa the only country which’s wines can put forward a claim to be made from fruit off old vines, formed part of OVP’s strategy to “focus the minds of winegrowers, winemakers and all wine drinkers on the benefits that come with age in vines,” said vineyard conultant, Rosa Kruger.

“Some of the most exciting new wines in South Africa have come from noble old vines, the fruit from which had mostly been disappearing into huge anonymous tanks, the farmers receiving little reward for the low yields,” she said, adding the seal was a guarantee to the consumer of “authentic wines grown according to the OVP viticultural and winemaking guidelines.

The renewed focus on the quality that old vines in South Africa could give would help to raise the price of grapes in the country, she said.

“Now these wines – and the vineyards that produce them – are receiving both local and international acclaim.”

Formalised in 2016, the OVP has since presented several tastings of some of the wines coming off the old vineyards, at home and abroad, with more projects in the pipeline to augment the OVP footprint.