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Are “old vines” really old?

Chances are, you’ve bought a wine with the term “old vines”, or "vieilles vignes", on the label. But when can a vineyard really be considered “old”? A vine is not unlike a human being. When it is young, between four and eight years old, it has the charms of childhood and the wines are usually mild and full of freshness. Between eight and 14, it reaches adolescence: it grows in all directions and is difficult to control. The viticulturist needs to tame the vineyard to prevent it from producing weak grapes without personality.…

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