What Is Old Vines Zinfandel?

by Sam Kimball
We’ve been talking about Zinfandel a lot lately, like how Lodi, California is the Zinfandel capital of the world and that it’s basically America’s most popular grape.

But there’s an interesting part about Zinfandel that is coming into the spotlight- Old Vines Zinfandel.

Anything labeled “old vines” basically means that the vines from which the grapes in that bottle came from are particularly...old

Grape vines can grow for 120 years so, by the end of that life, they’ve got deep roots and are producing more intensely flavored grapes.

We’ve been talking about Zinfandel a lot lately, like how Lodi, California is the Zinfandel capital of the world and that it’s basically America’s most popular grape. But there’s an interesting part about Zinfandel that is coming into the spotlight- Old Vines Zinfandel.

So what is it? Well, it’s pretty straightforward. Anything labeled “old vines” basically means that the vines from which the grapes in that bottle came from are particularly…old. Sure, that sounds mildly unappealing but when you think of it in terms of winemaking, older is better.

Grape vines can actually grow for 120 years so, by the end of that life, they’ve got deep roots and are producing more intensely flavored grapes. In the U.S., the term is mostly used in reference to Zinfandel, mostly because they are our oldest, most established grape.

Here’s the science behind it: Vines don’t really begin to produce until a few years after they’re planted. Around the 5th or 6th year, they’re primed for regular harvesting and will continue to regularly produce until about twenty or thirty years. This is when the growth declines and will continue to until about 50 years. After that point, the vines will produce fewer grapes but the flavor of the grapes that do grow is so much more intense.

This is especially true for Zinfandel in particular. Most of our other popular California wines like Chardonnay or Cabernet have a peak of 30-50 years which is why we don’t usually see the “old vine” label. With Zin, the lifespan is so much longer so the old age of the vine really holds some weight. It’s like you know the grapes in that old vine bottle worked harder to become your wine so it feels a little more special.

Legally, there is no condition or criteria for labeling a wine as “Old Vine” but wine producers take it extremely seriously, so if you see that label, you’ll know it’s at least 50 years old, if not older. Impressive, right?



FEATURED EVENTS

New York Wine Events

November 9, 2019

Brooklyn

Brooklyn Crush: Fall Edition

Experience the event Thrillist said was one of the things “You Absolutely Have to Do in NYC”

PURCHASE TICKETS
New York Wine Events

October 19, 2019

Chelsea, NYC

NYC Autumn Wine Festival

Highlighted by Grubstreet & New York Magazine as a “destination wine and food event”

PURCHASE TICKETS
New York Wine Events

August 24, 2019

Jamesport, NY

Jazz In The Vines: Alex Bugnon & Marc Antoine

A meeting of 2 contemporary jazz giants

PURCHASE TICKETS
New York Wine Events

August 10, 2019

Jamesport, NY

Jazz In The Vines: Peter White

An evening with an extraordinary guitarist and performer

PURCHASE TICKETS
New York Wine Events

August 3, 2019

Manhattan, Chelsea Piers

Rosé Splash

Midsummer cruise

PURCHASE TICKETS
New York Wine Events

July 20, 2019

Riverhead

Summer Rose and Bubbly Fest

in the middle of a beautiful 200-acre working winery!

PURCHASE TICKETS
New York Wine Events

July 13, 2019

Jamesport, NY

Jazz In The Vines: Spyro Gyra

A great opening evening for 2019

PURCHASE TICKETS
New York Wine Events

June 29, 2019

Lake George, NY

Adirondack Wine & Food Festival 2019

The 5th annual event is June 29 & 30th in scenic Lake George, NY.

PURCHASE TICKETS
New York Wine Events

June 22, 2019

Riverhead

North Fork Crush Wine & Artisanal Food Festival

Forget Napa–sample world class wines at a stunning vineyard without leaving New York!

PURCHASE TICKETS
New York Wine Events

June 4, 2019

Soho, NYC

Zinfandel Experience New York City

Sample the finest wines we present all year long.

PURCHASE TICKETS
New York Wine Events

May 18, 2019

Marlboro, NY

Wines & Bites!

Hudson Valley’s yummiest wine and food tasting event

PURCHASE TICKETS
New York Wine Events

May 11, 2019

Industry City, Brooklyn

Brooklyn Crush: Spring Edition

Forget the plane tickets to Napa – hop the subway to Sunset Park, where we’ve transformed Industry City into a wine region!

PURCHASE TICKETS
New York Wine Events

May 6, 2019

Chelsea, NYC

Oregon Wine Trail in New York City

60 Wineries sampling

PURCHASE TICKETS
New York Wine Events

March 26, 2019

New York, NY

NY Drinks NY Grand Tasting 2019

Join us on March 26th at the Rainbow Room in NYC for our next Grand Tasting!

PURCHASE TICKETS
New York Wine Events

March 9, 2019

New York's #1 Winter Tasting

NYC Winter Wine Festival

Bid the cold adieu (for a few hours) at the NYC Winter Wine Festival

PURCHASE TICKETS
New York Wine Events

January 17, 2019

IC Wine Club – Wine Tasting with Moore Brothers Wine Company

Back for another seasonal tasting

PURCHASE TICKETS
New York Wine Events

November 10, 2018

Brooklyn

Brooklyn Crush: Fall Edition

Experience the event Thrillist said was one of the things “You Absolutely Have to Do in NYC.”

PURCHASE TICKETS
New York Wine Events

October 20, 2018

Chelsea

NYC Autumn Wine Festival

Named by Grubstreet & New York Magazine as a destination wine and food event.

PURCHASE TICKETS

October 6, 2018

Long Island

Day Trip To Wine Country

Join New York Wine Events for a full-day Wine Tour to Long Island Wine Country. Available every Saturday, this experience transports you to the North Fork of Long Island, 2 hours from Manhattan with farms, wineries & artisan food. TICKET INCLUDES: Round trip bus travel via motor coach from Midtown Manhattan. You pick your date – Read More

PURCHASE TICKETS
New York Wine Events

September 1, 2018

Jamesport, NY

Jazz In The Vines: Vincent Ingala and Lindsey Webster

New York Wine Events is thrilled to present Vincent Ingala and Lindsey Webster at the spectacular Jamesport Vineyards on the North Fork of Long Island.

PURCHASE TICKETS
New York Wine Events

August 25, 2018

Jamesport, NY

Jazz In The Vines: David Benoit and Marc Antoine

New York Wine Events is thrilled to present David Benoit and Marc Antoine at the spectacular Jamesport Vineyards on the North Fork of Long Island!

PURCHASE TICKETS
New York Wine Events

August 11, 2018

Jamesport, NY

Jazz In The Vines: Jeff Lorber Fusion

New York Wine Events is thrilled to present Jeff Lorber Fusion at the spectacular Jamesport Vineyards on the North Fork of Long Island. A 2018 Grammy Award Nominee!

PURCHASE TICKETS
New York Wine Events

July 28, 2018

Riverhead

Summer Rose and Bubbly Fest

Rosé Wine + Rosé Champagne + Sparkling Wine + Music + Summer… on the East End of Long Island

PURCHASE TICKETS

June 23, 2018

Jamesport

North Fork Crush Wine & Artisanal Food Festival

North Fork Crush is your chance to sample wine at a working vineyard and receive tasting notes directly from celebrated North Fork winemakers!

PURCHASE TICKETS

June 6, 2018

Manhattan

Big Apple Zinfandel Experience
powered by ZAP

The BIG APPLE ZINFANDEL EXPERIENCE features some of the finest wines at any of our annual events. WHY?

PURCHASE TICKETS

RELATED WINE BLOGS

Wednesday, April 24th, 2019

5 Things To Know When Tasting Wine
We’ve all been there- you’re at a dinner party and someone pours wine, and you’re about to go for it when you look around and see everyone swirling and sniffing their glass. Confusion ensues. Don’t worry, we’ll help you and then you can do it too! Sure, the art of wine tasting is deeply involved - Read More
Read more...

Wednesday, April 17th, 2019

You Must Try Wines Made From the Garganega Grape
Say it with us: gahr-GAH-neh-gah. It’s not just a cool word, it’s the sixth most planted white grape in all of Italy. You can find it in the Veneto region which is in the northeastern part of the country in the provinces of Vicenza and Verona. In Sicily, the Garganega grape is locally known as - Read More
Read more...

Sunday, April 14th, 2019

5 Organic Wines To Try in 2019
In our recent article, we discussed the idea of biodynamic wines and how they’re becoming more and more popular around the United States. We also mentioned organic wines, which are slightly different but are also showing up around wine shops and bars, especially here in New York. So what is organic wine? Well to put - Read More
Read more...
LOAD MORE