Barossa Old Vine Charter
The Barossa is an exceptional and diverse viticultural region, with a profound history of grape growing and winemaking dating back to 1842. Acknowledged as one of the world’s leading wine regions, it is home to some of the oldest vineyards in the world.
While a charter defining and categorizing Barossa Old Vines has been on the table for many years, it was never finalised. In 2007, it was Yalumba, the oldest continual family owned winery in Australia, that finally took up the challenge to recognise and celebrate these stalwarts of the wine world by declaring their own Old Vine Charter.
The Barossa-based winery’s managing director, Robert Hill Smith, said, “The Old Vine Charter is dedicated to the recognition, preservation and promotion of these old vines, and we at Yalumba hope that this charter may play a small role in ensuring that in the unlikely event of another vine-pull scheme, it is not the oldest vines that are destroyed, as was the case in the 1980’s.” This brave stance so inspired the Barossa wine community that, after extensive discussion, we endorsed the Yalumba classification system as an accurate reflection of our sentiments. Finally, after a slight refinement of the Yalumba model, we are proud to present what we believe is a true representation of Barossa Old Vine chronology and an apt reference point for all our winemakers and grape growers.
One of the important lessons we have learnt over the 170+ years of grape growing and winemaking in the Barossa is that rules can (and will) change and evolve over time. But we are satisfied that the classification and terminology we have agreed on is a true and accurate representation of our treasury of Old Vines at this time.
We would like to note here that whilst vine age may often be used as an indicator of potential quality, it is not a prerequisite for quality, just as variety, region or maker does not, by itself, create a superior wine. What is generally accepted is that Old Vines go through the ripening process more effectively.
The Barossa’s sense of guardianship for our Old Vineyards is a product of the region’s close knit circle of winemakers and grape growers, many of whom have been working together for seven generations. We trust this Old Vine Charter will add further intrinsic value to these rare vineyards and, most importantly, help to highlight and protect these viticultural treasures from ever being pulled from the soils of the Barossa again.
Barossa Old Vine Charter
Barossa Old Vine (Langmeil Jackaman's Cabernet Sauvignon, Langmeil Fifth Wave Grenache)
Equal or greater than 35 years of age
These Old Vines have grown beyond adolescence and are now fully mature. They have a root structure and trunk thickness that encourages diversity of flavour and character. Their worthiness has now been proven over many vintages, consistently producing the highest quality fruit for Barossa wines of distinction and longevity.
Barossa Survivor Vine (Langmeil Fifth Wave Grenache)
Equal or greater than 70 years of age
These very Old Vines are a living symbol of traditional values in a modern environment and signal a renewed respect for the Barossa’s Old Vine material. They have weathered the worst of many storms, both man-made and naturally occurring, including the infamous 1980s Vine Pull scheme.
A Barossa Survivor Vine has reached a significant milestone in Barossa and Australian viticulture history and pays homage to the resolute commitment of those growers and winemakers who value the quality and diverse flavour structures of old vines.
Barossa Centenarian Vine (Langmeil Orphan Bank Shiraz)
Equal or greater than 100 years of age
These exceptionally Old Vines serve as a witness to the Barossa’s resilience in the face of adversity. The Barossa, unlike many of the world’s great wine regions, is phylloxera free, which allowed these vines to mature into their thick, gnarly trunks and naturally sculpted forms without interference. Noted for their low yields, they produce fruit with intensity of flavour.
Planted generations ago, when dry farming techniques demanded careful site selection, Centenarian Vines have truly withstood the test of time.
Barossa Ancestor Vine (Langmeil The Freedom 1843 Shiraz)
Equal or greater than 125+ years of age
An Ancestor Vine has stood strong and proud for at least one hundred and twenty five years. It is a living tribute to the early European settlers of the Barossa, pioneers of our modern wine industry. These very Exceptionally Old Vines and their genetic material have helped to populate this region with irreplaceable, remarkable old stocks and are the underpinnings of our premium viticultural tradition.
These low yielding vineyards, with fruit full of intensity and flavour, are most often dry grown. They are believed to be among the oldest producing vineyards in the world.
The Barossa, as with all other South Australian wine regions, is classified as phylloxera free. Phylloxera (fil-ox-era) is the Barossa's most significant grapevine pest. It has the potential to decimate entire vineyards. The minute aphid-like pest attacks grapevine roots and causes decline in vine health and ultimately impedes the vine's capacity to produce.
The quality wine produced in this region comes from some of the oldest vines in the world. It is vitally important that the Barossa remains vigilant about the threat of phylloxera. Please ensure you protect the Barossa from phylloxera whilst visiting our region.
For more information visit the Phylloxera & Grape Industry Board of South Australia website: