Bottling red tape: thanks to Rosa Kruger, SA is a world leader in old vines

Refusing to be outdone by bureaucracy, the viticulturist spent her own time and money documenting SA’s heirlooms

11 May 2021 - 19:49 By Michael Fridjhon

The Old Vine story has been gathering momentum for some time. Until recently old vineyards were merely survivors, kept in the ground by growers who couldn’t afford new plantings. There was no recognition that, properly managed and under the right circumstances, they could become the purest expression of place. Survivors with epigenetic “memory” of hard times and years of plenty, they are integrated into their landscape. Conceivably they express not only the conditions of a particular vintage, but of all the growing seasons that have come before.

The big change came when Rosa Kruger, one of the most thoughtful, dedicated and innovative of our viticulturists, set out to find and catalogue our heritage or heirloom vineyards. This project, undertaken in her own time and at her own expense, turned out to be a shape-shifter for the whole industry...

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