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Initiative to support world’s oldest vines launches

Published:  11 March, 2021

An initiative to support the global group of winemakers and viticulturists engaged with the world’s oldest vines has been launched by Leo Austin, Sarah Abbott MW and Alun Griffiths MW.

The Old Vine Conference is a non-profit organisation seeking to highlight the work of old vine pioneers, advocate the scientific and oenological case for old vines, help build old vine wines into a recognised category amongst consumers and slow the loss of important old-vine vineyards worldwide.

The initiative will be kickstarted in March with a conference hosted and moderated by Tim Atkin MW, Dr Jamie Goode and Sarah Abbott MW, marking the first in a series of events scheduled to take place throughout 2021. 

Free to attend, the conference promises to bring together some of the most respected old vine advocates from around the world to share their experience and views, with each of the events designed to bring industry professionals together to “share knowledge, build alliances and develop new tools to preserve, protect and nurture old vine vineyards”.  

Following the conference, a global schedule of old vine tastings and vineyard visits will be developed, together with a crowdfunding project to support viticulture heritage sites in danger, the founders said.

“In recent years, a group of old vine pioneers around the world have made immense efforts to preserve viticultural heritage, highlight the science of old vines and re-invigorate local communities of small growers,” said Abbott.

Those, she added, were “some of the most important initiatives” in our industry.

“Our research has shown that many otherwise passionate wine lovers still don’t understand or value old vines, often dismissing the term as a marketing gimmick. The result is unbalanced industry economics and the loss of irreplaceable old vines year after year. If you are passionate about heritage, science and taste, please work with us to create a new wine category and sustain the world’s most valuable old vines”. 

Austin added: “We can change the economics of old vines and through that change the lives of grower communities around the world. It requires us to build a credible old vine category and develop consumer demand – but it can be done. We hope to build support and together we’ll make a difference.” 

Further information can be found here