|Beautiful gnarled old vines|
It can take up to a decade for root systems to develop fully and grow deep into the soil but this allows the vine to better withstand water stress and build up stronger resistance to diseases while giving more consistent quality and complexity. Some believe that old vines give greater expression of terroir having adapted themselves to it over many years, but naturally this quality depends on many factors such as soil maintenance and the avoidance of over cropping and irrigation. Ungrafted vines give good results, but there are very few of them left. One way to take advantage of old vines´established root systems and effectively rejuvenate the vine is to cut off the scion above the graft and wait for a new bud to grow. For economic reasons most old vines are at serious risk so if these gems are to be preserved something needs to be done, and things are beginning to happen.
|Fernando Mora MW with promotional T shirt|
In the Marco de Jerez there still exist a few vineyards with old vines, usually in the hands of small growers who, because of the low grape price, cannot afford to replant. Often they are still pruned to vara y pulgar, the traditional method. Some notable examples of old vine wines are: Fino Barajuela from Luis Pérez, Vibrations from Muchada Leclapart, Mirabrás from Barbadillo, Blanco from M Ant. de la Riva (Willy Pérez and Ramiro Ibáñez) and Alegria Ancestral from Alba Viticultores.