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Reply to "Where Have All The Century-Old Vines Gone? (The Hidden Story)"

Originally posted by TORB:
Originally posted by Peter "Vine Master":

When it crosses the ocean, exchanges for the weaker dollar, gets marked up… I’ve never seen Grange under $100 & recently saw it in the $260 range! Of course I’ve never bought it, as I have never had a car with less than 100,000 Miles & fewer than 9 years old. I am not trying to get rich but would like a third bedroom so my little boy & girl could have separate rooms.


I never said Grange was $100 a bottle. (That sounds aggressive - its not intended.) Its more expensive in Oz than in the US due to demand. Grange is but one wine that comes out of Oz and as I said, it does not necessarily have to come from old vines.

I fully appreciate the work and cost involved in producing old vine material, but they are still Zin grapes. You can't make a silk purse out of a sows ear, no matter how good the sow. That is the problem you face.

In terms of cropping levels, in Oz the red cropping levels are different to the numbers you quoted.

The red stuff that is grown in the Riverina ( many of the cheap wines that are marked "product of SA Australia") are cropped at around 5-6 tonnes but that stuff sells from $10 to $20 approximately.

In the Barossa the average $25+ wine is cropped at less than 4 tonnes to the acre. Much of the stuff that costs over $40 is around 2 to 3 tonnes per acre. Many of the very old vines crop at from .5 to about 1.5 tonnes to the acre.

I can understand your frustration, but you are growing Zin and therein lies your commercial limitation.


On the tonnages & categories they are pretty much the same here although, to be complete there is also a category of wines below $10 that really come from the hot Central Valley where they can easily push tonnage to around 15 maybe 20 tons with really no flavor... & some truck the juice up here so they can say it was bottled here & hope some notice a Sonoma or Napa town on the label.

You are right excellent wine can come from younger vines - a neighbor cloned their famous Old Vines & planted it near us at about the at same elevation in the same kind of soil & we have. It is vary good, dose very well & gets very high scores but it is a different flavor profile from both their old stuff & ours both of which tend to score a bit higher (if scores really means anything) it gets good Money & produces about 4 tons per acre compared to their old stuff @ 0.5! That bit of difference is what makes the old stuff a bit more special.

I know as I've replied above their Old vines in either poor locations & farmed poorly that make poor wine but ours has consistent 15+ year record of Awards & ratings at the very top as I outlined to Sandy Fitzgerald above.

I dare say if the varieties & history were reversed so our Great Old stuff was Syrah & yours was Zinfandel. The most influential American writers would be touting Zinfandel & we would be saying it's only Syrah maybe because it’s an import from a place Americans like to visit…