How old is an old vine?

What do you think?  30 years, 40 years, 50 years, more?  Actually it’s all rather in the eye of the beholder as there is no legal definition for the term vieilles vignes. It’s generally accepted that old vines produce less fruit, have a deeper root structure and are more established than young vines so have a capacity to produce a potentially more interesting wine. Of course as one producer pointed out to us this week  – it’s perfectly possible for old vines on a poor plot to make distinctly dull wine and likewise it’s possible for young vines on a superb plot to make a fabulous wine.

The vines in the picture above are over 100 years old and were planted by Jerome Godefroy’s grandfather in 1908.  You can see that the rows aren’t even planted in a straight line!  Yields from vines of this age are minuscule but important  both from a quality and sentimental point of view.

The wines from Domaine Godefroy are great value for money and not a single bottle is exported from France as he manages to sell all his stock locally.  If you’re in the area on holiday it’s worth paying him a visit.  He has a nice tasting room and speaks good English.  It’s also child friendly with a few crayons and colouring books to occupy bored little ones while the adults enjoy the tasting.