Daring to question the praising of old vineyards places one in the same category as those supporting rhino poaching, the clubbing of baby seals and the banning of anything sounding like Leonard Cohen. South Africa has an enthusiastic Support the Old Vines lobby. With the zeal an anti-foie gras activist would be proud of, these lobbyists host emotional wine tastings underscoring the need for seasoned patches of weary vineyards to be conserved. For not only do such geriatric vineyards produce remarkable wines – apparently – they form an integral part of the country’s vinous legacy in terms of cultural and human provenance.
It is the role of a journalist to remain objective in such matters. That is why it is important to also look at reasonable and informed voices holding a different view on this sensitive, yet ubiquitous topic. Bruwer Raats, a highly respected winemaker who usually lets his Raats Family wines do the talking, recently stepped out of the cellar to offer Wineland Magazine his take. Herewith the translation from the original Afrikaans: