Wines & Vines Home
   
 
Welcome Guest
LOGIN |  CREATE ACCOUNT
 
ADVERTISEMENT
 
 
 
05.08.2013  
 

California Honors Historic Vines

Group hopes Assembly resolution sways growers to maintain old vineyards

 
by Andrew Adams
 
 
R.W. Moore Vineyard
 
This vine is part of the historic R.W. Moore Vineyard in the Coombsville AVA of Napa Valley. The vineyard has produced quality Zinfandel for more than 100 years.
Sacramento, Calif.—Despite Prohibition and the changing whims of America’s wine drinkers, some growers in California have managed to nurture vines that have been growing for decades if not more than a century.
The vines produce grapes that some say make vibrant, interesting wines but also provide an almost literal connection to the roots of California’s viticultural heritage. To honor these vineyards, the California Assembly passed a resolution to note: “Historic vineyards are beautiful and treasured survivors that have lived through the ravages of Phylloxera, economic downtowns, consumer popularity fluctuations and, in many cases, Prohibition and world wars.

    Historic Vineyard Tour
     

     
    The society will host its third annual vineyard tour and dinner May 11. Board members and winemakers will lead a tour of historic vineyards followed by a dinner at Seghesio Family Vineyards in Healdsburg, Calif. Contact the society at (831) 747-0255, or visit historicvineyardsociety.org for more information.


While resolution HR 9 doesn’t confer any special legal protection or historic status on the vines, proponents of the old vineyards hope it will make growers think twice about replanting them. “We’re pretty excited that the state has actually, in our opinion, done something pretty significant,” said Bob Biale, co-owner of Robert Biale Vineyards in Napa, Calif., which produces wine from old vines, including those from Aldo’s Vineyard (planted in 1937).

Biale said he was at the state Capitol to celebrate the passing of the resolution in April. Assemblymember Tom Daly, who represents the Southern California cities of Anaheim and Santa Ana, introduced the bill, but it was Daly’s chief of staff David Miller who worked with the nonprofit Historical Vineyard Society to draft the resolution.

Mike Dildine, a founding member of the group, said he was thrilled with the resolution and grateful to see it passed. “Old vineyards are an under-appreciated treasure, and we’re happy to get some official recognition.” (See related story from 2011.)

The resolution notes that the vines provide a “living repository for wine grape budwood and genetic material” as well as a “living window” to the methods of California’s pioneer wine growers like head trained vines, dry farming and field blends.

Dildine, who is a committed fan of old vines and doesn’t work in the wine industry, said the resolution adds a little more weight to the argument for preserving old vineyards. He said group members have discussed pursuing some type of tax break for old vines similar to tax measures that have helped preserve historic buildings and even historic cars. “We’d like to continue to find more ways for growers to protect these vineyards.”

While their longevity and grape quality can be phenomenal, old vines also produce fewer grapes per acre, and are often planted with a mix of varieties. Most wineries pay by the ton, and often pay lower prices for grapes from a mixed field than those of a single variety.

In light of growing U.S. wine consumption and a scarcity of open ground for new planting, growers will likely see extra pressure to improve the efficiency of their vineyards to take advantage of rising grape prices. Faced with those market changes, 50-year-old Petite Sirah vines start looking less attractive compared to new Cabernet or Pinot vines.

Biale said growers need to be convinced to save those vines, and the resolution puts a little indirect pressure on them when making replanting decisions. The same is true for vines that may be 20 or 30 years old: While not historic now, they could be if left in the ground. “We’re marching forward here, and there’s still vines that could turn into old vineyards,” he said.

The society has listed 217 vineyards that are older than 60 years and registered 57 of these. Many are in California’s North Coast and already well known by consumers and the media. Some of these include the Monte Rosso vineyard in the mountains above Sonoma Valley and the Lytton Estate vineyard in Dry Creek Valley (made famous by Ridge Vineyards winery).

These are examples Dildine said were easy to catalog. The next step will be searching out historic vineyards in lesser known areas. He said he believes there are many historic vineyards in the Lodi AVA that are mixed in with large-production lots, and they just need to be identified. “I think we’re going to have a lot of fun tracking them down,” he said.

SHARE »
Close
 
Currently no comments posted for this article.
 
CURRENT NEWS INDEX »


 
Wines & Vines Home
 
866.453.9701 | 415.453.9700 | Fax: 415.453.2517
65 Mitchell Blvd., Ste. A San Rafael, CA 94903
info@winesandvines.com
Wine Industry Metrics
 
Off-Premise Sales » Month   12 Months  
March 2015 $622 million
7%
$7,995 million
5%
March 2014 $582 million $7,588 million
     
Direct-to-Consumer Shipments » Month   12 Months  
March 2015 $252 million
19%
$1,863 million
14%
March 2014 $213 million $1,634 million
     
Winery Job Index » Month   12 Months  
March 2015 356
22%
243
16%
March 2014 292 210
     
 
MORE » Released on 04.15.2015
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Direct To Consumer
Wine Shipping Report
2015
 
Download full report »
 
 

Practical Winery & Vineyard Library
 
Search the PWV archive »
 
 

CALENDAR
  • April 21
     
    Ahead of the Curve
     
  • April 25
     
    Vineyard Mechanization Workshop
     
  • April 25-26
     
    Vineyard to Vintner in Stags Leap
     
  • April 25-27
     
    World Wine Meetings America
     
  • MORE »
 

READER COMMENTS
 
Article: Is Organic Grape Growing Possible in the East? »
 
FWIW, We make a few wines from a certified Organic vineyard growing cabernet franc, merlot,...
Reader: southoldfc
 
Article: Specialty Tanks Encourage Oak Extraction »
 
According to the manufacturer, the logs are made through compression and not with a binding...
Reader: Andrew Adams
 
Article: Specialty Tanks Encourage Oak Extraction »
 
What is the bonding agent of the Pressed Oak Logs?
Reader: Guest
 
Article: Is Organic Grape Growing Possible in the East? »
 
Some Long Island, NY, vineyard farmers are already using nearly organic methods. They have worked...
Reader: envcat
 
Article: Loosening AVA Regulations »
 
When I see 'Napa Valley'on a wine label, it doesn't only suggest the flavors I...
Reader: Guest
 
 


Directory/Buyer's Guide — Your Wine Industry Marketplace
 
 
WINERY SEARCH
 
 
Advanced Search »
SUPPLIER SEARCH
   by Product
 by Company Name or Brand
 
Browse by Category »
2015 Directory/Buyer's Guide
The Wines & Vines Directory and Buyer's Guide
 
 
EXPANDED ONLINE SEARCH INCLUDED WITH PURCHASE
 
ORDER NOW »
 
LEARN MORE »
 
 
Wines & Vines Magazine
 
 
LEARN MORE »
 
SUBSCRIBE »
 
Digital Edition Now Available!
Wines & Vines Digital Edition Now Available
 
LEARN MORE »
 
ORDER NOW »
 
 
The Wines & Vines Online Marketing System
 
The Industry Standard winery marketing application
 
FREE LIVE DEMO »
 
VIEW VIDEO »
 
 
 
 
Latest Job Listings
 Enologist-Assistant Wi...
 Mendocino, CA
Winemaker/Enologist
 Guest Relations Associ...
 St. Helena, CA
DTC, Tasting Room and Retai
 Tasting Room Associate
 Dundee, OR
DTC, Tasting Room and Retai
 Vinx2 Helpdesk Support
 Sonoma, CA
Cellar, Lab and Production
 Southwest Manager
 Phoenix Metropolitan, AZ
Sales and Marketing
 Director Of Retail Acc...
 Orange County, CA
Sales and Marketing
 Assistant Vineyard Mgr
 Healdsburg, CA
Vineyards
 Compliance Account Man...
 Paso Robles, CA
General Administration and
 Marketing Manager
 Brooks, CA
Sales and Marketing
 2015 Lab Interns
 King City, CA
Cellar, Lab and Production
 
More Job Listings >>
Follow Us On:
 
 





Home  |  About Us  |  Editors  |  Subscribe  |  Print Edition  |  Digital Edition

Advertise  |  Site Map  |  Contact Us  |  Privacy Policy
 
 
Copyright © 2001-2015 by Wine Communications Group, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
No material may be reproduced without written permission of the Publisher.
Wines&Vines does not assume any responsibility for any unsolicited manuscripts or materials.