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We need to talk about old vines, Wine Australia says

Published:  13 November, 2015

Australia needs to talk more about its old vines, according to experts at a Wine Australia seminar yesterday.

"They are older than almost any other wines in the world and it's a part of the Australian culture that you should emphasise again and again," wine writer and TV personality Oz Clarke said.

Vines have been planted in Australia since the first British settlement in 1788. Wines are still being made from plantings that date back to 1847.

Fifteen wines featured at the seminar, including Tahbilk 1927 Vines Marsanne; Turkey Flat Shiraz, with a winemaking lineage that goes back to the 1860s; and Schild Estate Moorooroo, which is produced from 1847 vines.

The seminar was hosted by wine journalist Sarah Ahmed.

Other panel members included winemakers Sue Hodder from Wynns Head and Dean Hewitson from the Hewitson winery, and wine writer Jamie Goode.

Ahmed said: "I think all 15 wines delivered in the glass and had great stories behind them. What we know for sure is, if these old vines are still there, then they are great vineyards. That's what it's about and where it all starts."

Laura Jewell MW, Wine Australia's head of market UK and Europe, said: "Australia has some of the oldest vines in the world - certainly the oldest Shiraz and Mouvèdre - and South Australia in particular has vines unaffected by Phylloxera that were planted in the mid-1800s.

"This Old Vines seminar explored how that affects the resulting wines and their complexity.

"It seminar was an opportunity to remind ourselves of the rich winemaking history, in spite of our nation's relative youth, and to champion the stories that set the foundations of Australia's fine wine story."