Age is similar to rank, which means that our venerable low-yielding “elders” are responsible for our most prestigious wines. Old vines, however, do more than produce superb fruit. The management and stewardship of old vines are essential elements in shaping a region, sustaining the natural richness of the environment and the biodiversity it contains.
Preserving these old vines prevents landscape restructuring. The work that is required to prepare the land and plant new vineyards, in the interest of higher yields, often changes the environment, along with the identity and soul of new opportunities, new wines.
The old vineyard parcels constitute a mosaic on the canvas of our land, full of colors and personalities, as different from each other as they are complementary. They shape the landscape, bringing a dash of uniqueness to every stretch:
Country roads and paths forged by generations of winegrowers; springs and forests; hermitages and country houses; shepherds’ cabins and dry stone huts, seemingly contemplating the passage of time from a place of eternity. A way of “defining the land” as it descends from mountainous terrain to the embrace of incomparably beautiful enclaves that express the true meaning of identity.
Sant Miquel hermitage (11th–12th century) in Tremp, amid vineyards planted with the ancestral variety Pirene
At the same time, old vines and vineyards are of utmost importance when it comes to maintaining the equilibrium of the environment's biodiversity. A form of feedback within an ecosystem that guarantees the health of our vines, which in turn ensures the quality of our wines. This is why we have to care for the surrounding forests and vegetation, a task that is as necessary as it is beautiful, and deeply ingrained in our heritage.
The preservation of these outdoor museums of ampelography also offer us something else—something intangible and special. These old vines are in and of themselves a viticultural school of life, where generations of winegrowers have left their mark through pruning and harvests.
Old vines at the Mas de la Rosa vineyards, Priorat; vines that have endured over time
It is worth remembering that conserving and revitalizing enclaves whose suitability had already been recognized by ancient civilizations represents a rich historical legacy, deserving, perhaps, of greater fortune. It is a living history, an open window that invites the world in to see us.
Old vines embody a cyclical spirit: that which is given to us, we must pass on to others. A responsibility both necessary and poetic. We are who we are, because of those who came before us. This is something to pass on, something that makes everything we do worthwhile. New wines from old vines.