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"Old World" Wine vs. "New World" Wine

by Administrator1. December 2016 11:37

Wine is produced in nearly every country in the world today, although that was not always the case.

While winemaking has been a tradition for many countries located within Europe and parts of the Mediterranean for several millennia, it has also become an established practiced in regions such as the U.S., Australia, and South Africa over the past few centuries. As you can imagine, the difference between “Old World” and “New World” wines can be quite significant. And while it’s easy to jump into the mindset that traditional methods always lead to better quality, or that experimentation always leads to an improvement, it’s not necessarily the case for wine.

Old World and New World wines can be enjoyed by any type of wine enthusiast. Knowing the difference between them, though, can be helpful in selecting the ideal wine for your preference.

The Difference Between “Old World” and “New World” Wine

“Old World” wines originate from regions with long histories of wine production, namely Europe and parts of the Mediterranean.

“New World” wines, on the other hand, originate from countries that have only begun producing wine during recent centuries, following European exploration or colonization.

However, we think it’s safe to assume that for anyone who has ever expressed a preference between these two types of wines, their preference was based on much more than the country wine originated from. The difference between “Old World” and “New World” wine is more than where each wine was produced – their characteristics are different, too.

“Old World” wines tend to have a lighter body, taste less fruity, have higher acidity, and contain less alcohol. This is mostly due to the strong emphasis on tradition, which emphasizes terroir, or the role the environment plays in the winemaking process.

“New World” wines tend to taste riper, taste fruitier, have less acidity, and contain more alcohol. In lieu of tradition and a focus on terroir, newer winemakers are more apt to experiment and tend to play more emphasis on the quality of their fruit rather than the environment in which it is grown.

Comparing “Old World” and “New World” Wine

This, of course, is only a general premise. Keep in mind that there are plenty of exceptions to the rule. Even within the “Old World” where tradition is king, the winemaking tradition of one country may differ wildly from the tradition of another. For example, if you tasted a wine from France and then tasted a wine from Italy, you may note that they similar but not the same.

Whether your preference for wine falls into the broad categories of “New World” or “Old World”, or if your preference is more specific to a region, no style of wine is objectively better than another – and that’s a good thing! The relationship between wine and the region in which it is produced is part of why wine tasting is an endlessly fascinating experience.

Learn more about the differences between “Old World” and “New World” wines, or experience them firsthand, by joining Baskets Gourmet/Wine World for one of our weekly wine tastings. We’ll help you discover a whole new world of your favorite wines!

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