As a rule, vines that are at least 25 years old are considered "old". The age is often used by producers for advertising purposes to indicate a particular quality. This is indicated on the label by designations such as "old vines" or in French "Vieilles vignes". Many French appellation regulations stipulate that no vines under three years of age may be used. Many major wineries in France only use vines with self-imposed minimum ages for their first wines. However, there is no generally applicable minimum age and the term is therefore used in different ways and has no meaning in wine law. Sometimes the term is also used to refer to ungrafted vines.
After new vines have been planted, the maiden harvest or pressing of the virgin wine will take place after three to five years at the earliest. The age of a vine has an effect on the quality of the wine, often the slogan "the older the better" is heard. Normally, the vigour and yield begin to decline continuously at around 20 years and a vine becomes uneconomical from around 50 years onwards. In general, vines in Central Europe hardly live more than 25 to 30 years, after which they are usually replaced due to lower yields. Slowly, however, a certain trend reversal can be observed. More and more wineries are cultivating vines with the respectable age of 50, 60, 70 and in individual cases even more than 100 years on smaller areas. The wines pressed from them are mostly produced in small quantities.