The Real Differences Between New World and Old World Wine

What does Old World Wine mean? Find out the differences between New World and Old World wine and how winemaking practices and regional climate greatly affect the taste of wine.

Old World Wine

Old world wines are from countries or regions where winemaking (with Vitis vinifera grapes) first originated.

Old world wine countries include: France, Italy, Spain, Portugal, Greece, Austria, Hungary, and Germany. Also, based on the definition, countries like Turkey, Georgia, Armenia, and Moldova are also able to be considered old world wine regions too!

New World Wine

New world wines are from countries or regions where winemaking (and Vitis vinifera grapes) were imported during (and after) the age of exploration.

New world wine countries include: the United States, Australia, South Africa, Chile, Argentina, and New Zealand are New World wine regions. Also, based on the definition, China, India, South Africa, and Japan are new world wine regions.

Do Old World Wines Taste Different Than New World Wines?

Yes, they often do. The differences in Old World and New World wines come from winemaking practices (tradition) and from the affect of the land and climate on the grapes (the “terroir”).

  • Old World wines are often described as tasting lighter, having less alcohol, having higher acidity, and tasting less fruity
  • New World wines are often described as tasting riper, having higher alcohol, having less acidity, and tasting more fruity

Despite these common descriptors between New and Old World wines, there are plenty of exceptions to the rule.

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