What's the difference between New World and Old World Wines?

Being the brand-new, self-proclaimed wine connoisseur in the room, you may have heard the terms New World Wine and Old World Wine being thrown around and thought to yourself, what on earth are New World and Old World Wines? And is there actually a difference?

Well, there is, so let's explore the differences between Old World Wine and New World Wine and equip you with some knowledge bound to impress your partner next time you browse the wine aisle.

Old World vs New World Wines

New World Wine vs Old World Wine: What's the difference?

The most noticeable difference between Old World and New World Wines is the geographical locations of the two: Old World Wines refer to regions in Europe where the traditional wine growing methods originated, whilst New World Wines refer to everywhere else in the world.

Old World is seen as 'traditional' and 'historical', whereas New World can be viewed as the 'innovators' or 'modernisers'. One of the main distinctions of Old World Wines is that the winemaking is heavily restricted with guidelines that all wineries must follow. The rules and regulations for winemaking present in Old World countries tend to be much laxer for New World countries, as a result, there is an increased level of experimentation and innovation, which explains the vast diversification between types and tastes of wines.

The difference in geographical locations results in different climatic conditions for New World and Old World Wines, which ultimately affects taste and quality.

New World Wine vs Old World Wine: How do they taste?

The New World wine regions often tend to be warmer, which results in higher alcohol, low acidity, fruitier, and more full-bodied wines. Just imagine that full-bodied Shiraz absolutely bursting with ripe fruit from Australia.

On the other hand, with slightly colder climates (on average), Old World Wines are usually lighter-bodied, more restrained, with lower alcohol, and more earthy with noticeable minerality. On the whole, they tend to have higher acidity and a lower fruit flavour profiles compared to New World Wines.

Old World Wine vs New World Wine tasting

New World Wine vs Old World Wine: Winemaking Styles

Old World and New World Wine have different winemaking styles, specifically with regards to the oak that's used. In New World regions newer oak is more commonly used, however, the Old World regions stick with neutral wood.

Another differentiation between Old World and New World wine styles is how the wines are labelled. Most New World wines are identified by the grape variety, think of your typical Aussie Shiraz or Argentine Malbec. However, the majority of the Old World still identifies their wines by region, think Bordeaux, Sancerre, or Champagne.

Wine Making Process

Old World Wine Regions

Geographically, Old World Wines mostly come from Europe (and a few in the middle east). This includes France, Spain, Portugal, Italy, Germany, Greece, Israel, the U.K., and Armenia all producing what is now considered Old World Wines. The vineyards within these countries have typically been around for many generations.

French Vineyard wine

New World Wine Regions

On the contrary, New World Wines are produced anywhere in the world that can grow grapes situated outside of Europe. The New World Wine regions are Argentina, Chile, Australia, the USA, New Zealand, South Africa, India and China.

Australia wine new world

Concluding remarks

In the modern world of wine, the importance of distinguishing between Old World and New World wine is becoming less and less prominent, however hopefully now you've equipped yourself with some valuable information that you can take to your next weekend wine and cheese gathering.






Photo Credits:
New World vs Old World map - Enobytes
French Castle Vineyard - booking.com