Positivity abounds with the recent inauguration of a new old vine advocacy project.
Entitled the Old Vine Conference, it held its first online assembly on 23/24th March 2021.

Breathing essential life into old vine and old vineyard thinking, its founders are Sarah Abbott MW, Alun Griffiths MW and Leo Austin. As a UK based, non-profit organisation, with an open-minded global vision for seeding and supporting old vine projects, among their aims is to establish what they describe as a credible category for Old Vine wines.
A truly worthy aim indeed.

The LIVE online programme, held over 2 consecutive half days, hosted an outstanding international panel of ‘old vine believers’ from both northern & southern hemispheres. For those of you who missed the transmission, the good news is that all the conference interviews can now be reviewed on their dedicated You Tube channel. Here’s the link


In taking their first self-assured step, this was a genuinely stimulating virtual encounter.

Of course the changes in practice, which the conference hopes to foster, won’t be easily attained.
Global agri-business and the current flow of “economic wine” thinking is likely to greet the prospect of unlearning and relearning with some degree of resistance. Driven by singular commercial mantras, which demand immediate ‘capital returns’, larger scale interests find themselves distanced from the logic of an old vine rationale. Not surprisingly, understanding the nature of old vines is something that cannot be gleaned in the boardroom. In an old vineyard is the only place it can be found.

And so as part of the debate, hope blooms for the concept of regenerative farming. Wholesome and imaginative as these projects always are, in old vines terms, they offer a clear path not just to skill acquisiton but also to transferrable ‘eternal learning’. By establishing healthy communities, focused on building old vine understanding, there’s every reason to believe that we will relearn the positive values of longevity. The evolutionary values of old age. And not just for vines. For us humans too.

Leaving aside climate change, one of the single biggest obstacles facing the old vine discussion is surely economic intransigence.

The simple yet challenging way to overcome it is surely through language development. We have to sidestep bloated and static economic thought. The chaos we’re witnessing today stems from an acute case of quality language erosion. In old vine speak, the economy as we know it is now poorly rooted. In lacking a solid fertile foundation, its shifting sands the evidential cause of a wilting in both environmental care and curative comprehension. Let’s face it, the economic debate of today is not only superficial, it’s artificial and distinctly lacking in any stable connection with its natural surroundings and its people.

Too often old is bestowed with a falsely distorted value.
Too often that measured value is ‘LOW’.
Too often old means SLOW.
Too often old means less productive with limited growth potential.
Too often old means less utility, even use-less.
Yes, too often old means less worth.
Worst of all, to the superficial, it often means worth-less.

Sadly there are key players, underpinning global economic rules and regulations, who continue to set their focus on volume & speed of supply.

Their principal challenge as they see it is to fulfill the instant material demands of our so-called ‘want’ generation, excessive demands which have been artificially created and driven. What the superficial economy has yet to recognise is that it’s suffering from what I’d describe as a severe case of authenticity anemia. Economic wine, with its enduring focus on mass market volume, is a perfect case in point. In practice this is accounting for the health of a bank balance and none other. Of course climate change is increasingly twisting the invisible economic arm into submission.

But we needn’t, indeed shouldn’t, wait for nature to take its course. There is already a human remedy. If the language we use is intuitively reframed, to incorporate authentic values, experience and understanding, we can help ‘Old’ to conceptually flip from depreciation to appreciation. The change of speed then becomes a necessary correction. Productivity adjusts to allow for qualitative enhancement. Unencumbered and unstressed, in equilibrium with its environment, advancing maturity enables the fruit of ‘currently unknown, untapped natural growth potential’ to be harvested.

Amazingly, what rings true for old vines, rings true for you and me too.
You’d think we’d show more respect to and for the elderly.

The Old Vine Conference has really got me thinking.
And I’m positively enthused.

Time to embrace the old and wise.

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