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Old World vs. New World

Some of you have asked what it means to call a wine “Old World” or “New World.” Now that you understand how grapes are grown and how wine is made, it’s the perfect time to address this question. Understanding the two types is helpful in figuring out what kind of wine you like (or more importantly, you don’t like), so let’s take a look at the general differences between the two: region, regulation, wine style, and labeling.

1. Region
Old World refers to wines that come from European countries such as France, Italy, Greece, and Spain, and from regions in North Africa and the Middle East. Winemaking began in the Old World, so these regions have a much longer history of viticulture and viniculture than other parts of the world, not to mention they’ve been producing wine for thousands of years. (Archaeological evidence suggests that the earliest known wine production dates back to 7000 BC!) The Old World is also where some of the world’s most popular winemaking techniques were developed and where wine quality laws were first created and implemented.

New World refers to wines that come from places such as the United States, South America, Australia, and South Africa. Unlike the Old World, New World regions have only been making wine since about the sixteenth century and have done so using vine cuttings and winemaking techniques brought over from the Old World. Think of it like a younger sibling following in his older sibling’s footstep. Younger, New World wines are just as unique and special to the family. They simply don’t have as much life experience and history as their older, Old World siblings.

By Allie Albanese & Melissa Diaz

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