If you are a budding wine connoisseur, and you want to make sure you know your stuff when it comes to talking about luxury wine, you are going to want to know the difference between old world and new world wines.
In broad strokes, these reference terms stem from the geographic area the wine was produced in. However, sometimes other key factors such as taste and flavour can determine whether a wine is classed as new or old world.
Old World Wine
Not only do these regions make wine, they also made the rulebook.
Old world wine countries are the areas where modern winemaking traditions first originated. These are the countries, or regions, that exported wines, grapes, winemakers and traditions into other countries. When it comes to old world wine, France and Italy are the main countries that spring to mind, as both of these countries have had a huge influence on the world of luxury wine.
To learn about wine you must learn about France, the world's favourite, premium wine producing country and the birthplace of grapes such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. These grapes are so influential they are often referred to as “international varieties”, despite their French Origins. Furthermore, Italy is another notorious old world, luxury wine producer. Italy’s influence has spread far and wide across the globe.
Other old world wine countries include Portugal, Spain, Germany and Croatia.
When characterising old world wine you can often expect it to be lighter in lody, lower in alcohol, higher in acidity and less fruity, relying instead on mineral flavours. However, this is not a blanket rule for all old world wine.
New World Wine
These countries saw the rulebook, and decided to ignore it.
Technically these countries are not ‘new’, they have been inhabited for millions of years, however, in terms of the spread of wine making, new world countries are those that were late to the game. They borrowed practices and traditions from other countries, to jumpstart their own. But, over time these countries threw caution to the wind, developed their own styles, and new world styles were born, bringing with them a whole host of luxury wine options.
Examples of new world countries include Australia, which was settled by Europeans who brought with them their winemaking practices and sheer determination to make the grapes grow. New Zealand, who are giving France a run for their money when it comes to premium wine, particularly the Sauvignon Blanc Kind.
When characterising new world wine you may find it is fuller in body, higher in alcohol, lower in acidity and that it comes with pronounced fruit flavours. But again, this is not a one size fits all description.