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Partnership with Old Vines Project

Preserving Old Vines through pruning education in South Africa

FELCO is a proud supporter of the Old Vine Project (OVP) in South Africa, and through pruning education helping to promote and preserve old vines in South Africa.

In vineyards worldwide, old vines are proudly mentioned on bottle labels as a value. However there is only one country where that claim is certified by a national wine regulatory authority, South Africa, where there are over 3500 hectares of certified old vines.

As far back as 2002, Rosa Kruger, a renowned South African viticulturist, recognized the potential, value and uniqueness of old vines. Together with André Morgenthal, they started documenting old vineyards and launching dedicated projects to spread the OVP footprint.

“We believe that in essence, older vines make wine with a certain quality and character that is uniquely different to wines made from younger vines…”, explains Rosa Kruger “…but as a result of their age, they need more care. We prune them very carefully, following specific principles and guidelines”.

Members of the Old Vine Project can now place a Ceartified Heritage Vineyards seal on bottles of wine made from vineyards 35 years or older, along with the planting date. This seal guarantees the consumer that the wines are authentic and the vines from which it was made were grown according to the OVP viticulture and winemaking guidelines.

FELCO Africa has been a crucial pillar of support and a strategic partner of OVP since their inauguration in 2016 and is glad to pursue its involvement in supporting pruning skill awareness and empowerment through knowledge of all levels of vineyard workers. “The training, empowerment through education and upliftment of vineyard workers will ensure specific goal-based, outcome-based education of the wine industry community and enhance opportunities for future generations” explains Gys Liebenberg, CEO of FELCO Africa.

Thanks to the release of a limited edition of the FELCO 2 tool, celebrating the 70th anniversary these iconic pruning shears, FELCO Africa, with proceeds from the sale of these tools were able to hold four training classes consisting of a theory module, followed by hands on practical experience in an old vines vineyard.

During 2019, four instructors were trained, who in turn trained 60 attendees. The attendees in turn will take the knowledge of old vine pruning principles back to the network of 60 OVP members. It is not only the knowledge and upskilling of people that plays an essential role but the importance this has on enhancing self-esteem and confidence through training and skills development.

Pruning is an artisanship that shapes the longevity of the vineyard and the quality of the wine. OVP and FELCO look forward to a long-term relationship, ploughing back into the wine industry and cultivating a culture of knowledge and upliftment.

For more information, please contact:

Gys Liebenberg, Managing Director of FELCO Africa, gys@felco.co.za, +27 82 458 6847
Michèle Charpié, FELCO SA, mcharpie@felco.com, +41 32 858 14 21

Old Vine Project

The OVP was formalized in 2016 with seed funding from the Rupert Foundation, although the effort to document South Africa’s old vines was embarked on by viticulturist Rosa Kruger back in 2002. The OVP wants to focus efforts on enhancing and contributing to the social, environmental upliftment and positive economic impact on the wine industry. www.oldvineproject.co.za