Oldest Grapevines in the World
When phylloxera destroyed most of the vineyards of Europe plus many in the Americas in the late 1800s, Australia was largely spared. One of the lucky legacies is that Australia now possesses many of the oldest vineyards in the world. In the Hunter Valley, for example, the Stevens Vineyard, now owned by Tyrrell’s, includes an “Old Patch” of chardonnay, semillon, and shiraz planted in 1867. Similarly, in the Barossa, the Hewitson family owns the Old Garden Vineyard which contains the world’s oldest mourvèdre, planted in 1853. Also in the Barossa, Penfold’s famous Kalimna “Block 42” of cabernet sauvignon planted in 1888 is thought to be the oldest cabernet sauvignon on the planet. Indeed, although definitive records do not exist, the Old Patch vines are thought to be first generation cuttings from the famous James Busby Collection of vines originally planted at Sydney’s Botanical Gardens in the 1830s—vines that went on to be the source of plant material for vineyards all over the country.