Vieilles Vignes

Appears in

Oxford Companion to Wine

Oxford Companion to Wine

By Jancis Robinson

Published 2006

  • About

vieilles vignes is French for ‘old vines’. The term is used widely on wine labels—as is vinhas velhas (Portugal), alte Reben (Germany)—in the hope that potential buyers are aware that wine quality is often associated with senior vine age. bollinger was one of the first producers to use the term, for the produce of ungrafted vines in one walled vineyard. Italian vecchie vigne and Spanish viñas viejas are less commonly flaunted and generally only on back labels.

There are few effective controls on the use of the term, however, and little agreement about exactly how many years it is before a vine can be deemed old, although over 50 years seems like a good starting point. In the early 21st century, there have been concerted efforts to preserve and protect these viticultural treasures by California’s historic vineyard society. Other examples include the Barossa Old Vine Charter and’s online Old Vines Register.