Roussillon’s old vines: a precious heritage

Old vines are an important part of Roussillon’s winegrowing heritage. In the 1980s and 1990s, when many European wine producers were uprooting native vines in favor of more commercial-value international varieties, Roussillon chose to preserve these local stars…

Q&A with Eric Aracil, Export Director, Roussillon Wines
Eric Aracil, Export Director, Roussillon Wines

Q: Are many Roussillon wines made from old vines?

A : Many of the wines we produce don’t specifically mention that they come from old vines. But over 50% of our vineyards have vines between 50 and 180 years old.

Q: What policy have the winemakers adopted with regard to these older vineyards with lower yields?

A: It’s not that the yield will be lower because the vines are older. In any case, vine yields will not exceed 30hl/ha. An old vine in good health will produce normally. And the growers in our region value these grapes because it’s their heritage.

A regional treasure

Today, some of these vines are almost 150 years old. They stretch across the entire region and form the basis of some of the finest, most distinctive wines in the Roussillon appellation. Over 50% of the vines in the vineyards of Roussillon are over 50 years old.

Old vines have lower yields, but with their deep roots, they not only produce top-quality, highly concentrated grapes, but are also very well adapted to increasingly extreme drought conditions.

They are more drought-resistant than younger vines, thrive with little rainfall and are less susceptible to damage from insects and disease.

Some Roussillon vines date back to the end of the 19th century. They have survived war and urbanization to produce wines of extraordinary complexity, concentration and character, a true reflection of their terroir and history.

Producers and wine experts all over the world are working hard to find and protect old vineyards. They are an important source of information. A register has recently been set up to record them. This register, rich in valuable data, guarantees their preservation.

This free worldwide database is the fruit of the passionate work of those who value old vineyards, respect their history and recognize their future potential.

It’s a work of sharing, passion and generosity, in the image of all Roussillon producers. Come and discover these exceptional wines…