Our Oldest Vines Aren’t all from the Old World

Australian wines are often considered modern in terms of the world stage. After all, Chateau Pape Clement in Bordeaux has been producing wine since the thirteen-hundreds – as has Antinori in Florence. However, a great deal of the Old World vineyards were laid waste in the Great French Wine Blight, which was caused by an influx aphid-like pests (Phylloxera Vitifoliae – for any interested entomologists reading this) in the 1850s. However, those pesky Phylloxera didn’t make it everywhere. So there are still some ancient vines around the world – and some not as far as you’d think.  

Maribor, Slovenia

Planted nearly 300 years before Australian wineries even existed; this ancient vine in rural Slovenia is listed in the Guinness Book of World Records the oldest vine in the world still bearing grapes. However, it only produces enough for 100 bottles each year, and bottles are usually reserved for visiting dignitaries and heads of state. So sampling this wine may be tricky. 

Hampton Court Palace, England

Hidden behind the walls of one of King Henry the Eighth’s favourite castles, lies The Great Vine. Planted in 1768, The Great Vine is not only one of the world’s oldest grape-bearing vines, at 36 metres long, it is also one of the longest. Sadly, however, the grapes of The Great Vine aren’t suited for wine making.

The Barossa Valley, Australia

The Barossa is synonymous with Australian wines, and it’s home to some of our favourite reds. Thanks to their 2009 Old Vine Charter, The Barossa is also home to some of the oldest vines in the world. The Old Vine Charter registers vineyards by age and helps to preserve older vines for future generations

Eden Valley, Australia

Yes, on top of producing some of our favourite Australian Wines, Eden Valley is also home to some of the oldest vines in the world. Luckily, the sandy soils of Eden Valley protected our vines from the ravages of Phylloxera (who apparently don’t like sand).  

Hunter Valley, Australia

We told you that you didn’t have to go far, and The Hunter Valley in New South Wales was also lucky enough to escape the terrors of Phylloxera. Some shiraz vines in The Hunter Valley are well over 120 years old, and still producing phenomenal wines. So if you’re hoping to sample the wines from some of the world’s oldest vines – stick with Australian Wines.



Roberta Marchesini