Hey wine luvhers! Let’s face it, wine is complicated! It takes plenty of trial and error to figure out what you like. Being able to articulate whether it’s red or white, sweet or dry is just the beginning. In order to truly understand what best satisfies your palate requires knowing more about how and where wine is produced.
Have you ever heard someone describe a wine as old or new world? The most basic difference between “old world” and “new world” wines is geographic: “Old world” refers to the traditional winegrowing regions of Europe, while “new world” refers to countries colonized by Western Europe and regions that are new to wine production.
Below is a cheat sheet to help you further understand these different worlds of wine.
- Wine Regions: France, Spain, Italy, Germany, Portugal, Austria, Greece, Lebanon, Israel, Croatia, England, Romania, Hungary, and Switzerland…just to name a few.
- Characteristics: Light-bodied, exhibiting more herb, earth, mineral, and floral components, more restrained, tannic, and lower in alcohol.
- Wine Making Process: Heavily restricted, must adhere to a detailed set of rules that govern what can be planted, density of planting, training and pruning methods, minimum ripeness at harvest, maximum yields, winemaking techniques and use of oak.
- Wine Regions: United States, Australia, New Zealand, Argentina, Chile, South Africa…just to name a few.
- Characteristics: Riper, more alcoholic, full-bodied and fruit-centered.
- Wine Making Process: Very few restrictions exist, and winemakers are free to plant whatever grape varieties they wish and make the wine however they deem appropriate.
There is no reason to suggest that “old world” wines are better than “new world” wines or vice versa. It boils down to personal preference. For example, I love New Zealand Sauvignon Blancs, but I’m not too fond of SBs from California. I find New Zealand SBs to be more fruit forward than California SBs, which are drier to me.
So, now that we’ve explored this popular phrase in the wine world, start exploring wines in different regions to see what you like best. Don’t forget to share in the comment section what wine regions you enjoy. Until next time…