The aptly named Old Vine Project (OVP) has its origins back in 2002, when viticulturist Rosa Kruger began hunting down old blocks of vines.
Word slowly spread and people came forward pointing out where they knew old plots to be and then some producers such as Eben Sadie began taking matters into their own hands and making arrangements with growers.
Sadie’s Old Vineyard Series kicked off in 2006 when he produced (at least what was then) South Africa’s oldest Chenin Blanc from a vineyard in Stellenbosch, which he named after the owner, a Mrs Kirsten.
By 2010 more producers, such as Chris Alheit, Duncan Savage and the Mullineuxs, were also tracking down old vines and in 2014 Kruger released the first ever website cataloguing old vineyards with help from the South African Wine Industry Information & Systems (SAWIS).
But recent funding from Johann Rupert of Antonij Rupert winery – whose father did much to preserve historic ‘Cape Dutch’ houses from destruction – has really kicked the project up a gear.
The OVP’s main task is to find old vines that are at least 35-years-old and, if they are good enough to produce wine, have them certified. This certification will be available from the 2017 vintage.