Old World Wine vs. New World Wine

Any wine enthusiast would know that an understanding of the difference between the old world and new world wine varieties is essential in maximizing the wine-tasting experience. This is because these two varieties have general differences between them that affect their taste, price, and availability

When someone uses the term Old World they are referring to wines made in countries that are considered the birthplaces of wine, basically that’s Europe and the Middle East. Some of the countries that are Old World include: France, Spain, Italy, Germany, Portugal, Austria, Greece, Lebanon, Israel, Croatia, Georgia, Romania, Hungary and Switzerland

New World wines come from countries that used to be colonies, including the U.S., and are in hotter climates, which, generally speaking, causes wines from the New World to be fuller bodied and have bolder fruit flavors. They also tend to be higher in alcohol. New World countries include: the U.S., New Zealand, Argentina, Chile, Australia and South Africa.

The differences in Old World and New World wines come from winemaking practices (tradition) and from the affect of the land and climate on the grapes (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.

There are significant differences between old and new world wines. There has always been a great debate about which one is better, as many wine drinkers often claim to prefer one over the other. This choice is purely personal, but it would be unfortunate not to try both of these kinds to profile each and finally decide a personal favorite.