By the time the vine is 20- to 30-years-old, it has reached maturity, and its flavor profile is more consistent and predictable for a winegrower, despite the climate conditions that will alter its expression vintage-to-vintage. From this point of maturity, a grapevine’s vigor will decline for decades, plateauing when the vine is around 50-years-old. Because vigor directly translates to the volume of wine produced, many farmers will tear out their aging vines to maintain a higher-yielding vineyard. Others savor the unique, extracted flavor and historic value that comes from these faithful old vines.
After about age 50, a zinfandel vine is considered “old,” but at 50, zin may not yet be half-way through its life. In Dry Creek Valley, you will find vineyards with vines that are more than 120-years-old!