They May Be Old, But These Historic Grape Vines Still Make a Fine Bottle

Meet the golden girls of California wine.

The Historical Vineyard Society (HVS) came to fruition a decade ago when current HVS secretary Mike Dildine collaborated with a handful of local wine experts to create a registry of California’s oldest grape vineyards. To make the list, the vineyard still needs to be producing fruit and have an original planting date of at least 50 years ago. In addition to bringing public recognition to these old vines, Dildine thinks the registry “provides an important living repository for wine grape budwood and genetic material.”

According to Forbes, “Sausal Ranch Century Vineyard on Highway 128 in Sonoma County’s Alexander Valley was planted back in the 1870s. Believe it or not, it’s still an active parcel, producing fruit for current owners, Silver Oak Vineyards. As the oldest registered vineyard in the Historic Vineyard Society database, Sausal Ranch predates many vineyards with way-back stories: Bechthold in Lodi, Saucelito Canyon in San Luis Obispo, Old Kraft in St. Helena — these are all on the list, planted prior to 1900, but sometime after Sausal Ranch.”

Want to visit some of the state’s oldest vineyards and sample their wine? Check out a guide to historic vineyards in Sonoma and Napa here.

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