Here in Lodi, old vines are living, breathing remnants of our winegrowing history; silent reminders that our roots in farming run deep.
As home to California’s highest concentration of old vine vineyards, we know what makes old vines special: family heirlooms, self-regulating, balanced growth, a rich and diverse microbiota, production of perfectly ripe, concentrated grapes, and elegant wines with a distinct sense of place of the vineyard.
We also know the trouble with old vines: increasing costs of vineyard management, low yields, creeping urban developments, diminishing financial return, and the list goes on. And then there are old vine wines. Like Rodney Dangerfield, they get no respect (and no premium pricing).
When disadvantages outweigh benefits, we all know too well what happens to these vineyards: they are unceremoniously ripped out and replaced – most often by vineyards of younger, more productive vines. For growers of beloved heritage vineyards, it is a heartbreaking choice to have to make. For once old vines are gone, so too are the remarkable wines they produce.
We know these facts. But most consumers (and more than a few media and trade) do not.
This fall, the Grower Marketing Committee (Kendra Altnow – chair, Ben Kolber, Richard Lauchland, Curt Gillespie, Craig Ledbetter, Kyle Lerner, Joan Kautz, Mitch Spaletta, Garret Schaefer, Colton Machado, and Jacylyn Stokes) of the Lodi Winegrape Commission is calling for action through an old vine preservation marketing campaign.
Named, “Save the Old Vines,” the campaign was launched this past Monday, October 5, and will run through November 22, with these primary goals in mind:
To shed a spotlight on Lodi’s rich viticultural history through its old vine vineyards and wines and the people behind both.
To raise general awareness and education surrounding historical, old vine plantings in Lodi.
To foster recognition of the quality of wine produced from old vines and the need for premiumization of old vine wines.
To read the official media release, click here.
The “Save the Old Vines” campaign is supported by a dedicated website (savetheold.com) and targeted public relations initiatives including wine sample mailings and a virtual tasting and panel discussion of old vine wines on Tuesday, November 10, at 4:30pm PST/7:30pm EST on the Lodi Wine Facebook page. All are welcome to attend.
The campaign is augmented by interactive content and digital and social advertising with partners Wine Enthusiast (Lodi old vine quiz and sweepstakes), Vinepair (Lodi article and infographic), Wine Business (website and Daily News Email advertisements), and others and will extend through limited-edition old vine-themed merchandise and wine packages.
HOW YOU CAN GET INVOLVED
Here are a few easy ways to support the “Save the Old Vines” campaign over the next two months:
Get familiar with the campaign by visiting savetheold.com. Be sure to check out the Lodi Old Vine Vineyards page. If you have an old vine vineyard age 50 or more, please let us know by calling the Lodi Winegrape Commission office at 209.367.4727 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Join us on Tuesday, November 10, at 4:30pm PST on the Lodi Wine Facebook page for a live discussion on old vines and the wines they produce. No RSVP is required but if you are on Facebook and would like to invite a friend or 10, you may share this post.
Test your own knowledge of Lodi old vines with this fun quiz on Wine Enthusiast’s website. Be sure to follow the steps at the end of the quiz to submit your information for a chance to win a 50-bottle N'FINITY S Dual Zone Wine Cellar and a set of 6 Zenology wine glasses, courtesy of Wine Enthusiast.
If you have social media accounts, support Lodi Wine on Facebook and Instagram by liking, commenting, and sharing our posts.
If you have a current, producing historic vineyard age 50 years or more in which at least 1/3 of the existing vines can be traced back to the original planting date, consider registering your vineyard with the Historic Vineyard Society – a non-profit dedicated to preserving California’s heritage plantings. This is a great way to get your old vine vineyard found by interested buyers. Plus, you receive an official listing and can purchase a special vineyard sign.