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What’s the Difference between New World and Old World 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 they taste different?

Yes, they often do. The differences in Old World and New World wines come from practices (tradition) and from the affect of the land and climate on the grapes winemaking (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. This is because winemakers have a fair amount of control when it comes to affecting how a wine will ultimately taste. Call it a winemaking preference if you want, but many Old World regions have rules and regulations that dictate winemaking practices which ultimately decides a wine’s style.

For example, if you made Malbec with the exact same winemaking methodologies in Mendoza, Argentina and then in Cahors, France, the wines would taste similar but not the same. In this case, The difference is in the conditions (the climate, the microfauna, etc) of the two regions.



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