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New World wine vs Old World Wine for us Newbies

Recently, I decided to take a class on New World wine vs Old World wine. Old World wines are wines that originate from: Europe, North Africa, the Middle East, and the Mediterranean Basin. These areas have the longest history in wine making. Did you know that they don’t even classify Old World wines by their grape varietal? How are people supposed to know what they are drinking? I will tell you how; Old World wines use the terroir to classify the wine instead of using the varietal name. This is because Old World winemakers believe the land has as much, if not more, to do with the taste of the wine. So a Cabernet Sauvignon from France will taste completely different than a Cabernet Sauvignon from Italy. Some of the oldest Old World wineries date back to circa 1000.

Let’s check out the major differences between New World and Old World wines.

Old World: Europe, the Mediterranean basin, North Africa, and the Middle East.
New World: North America, South America, Australia, South Africa and everywhere else!

Old World: For the most part, the Old World will categorize their wines either by town, vineyard, or family name.
New World: Categorizes their wines by the grape varietal, for example Chardonnay or Merlot.

Old World: Wine production is heavily monitored by laws and focuses on tradition. Every country has its own laws, but the government watches wine making very closely.
New World: Wine production is managed solely by the wine producer. If they want to grow Zinfandel they can and if they want to add more sugar to their wine; they can.

Old World: Produces lighter bodied, more mineral, herb and floral wines.
New World: Produces fuller bodied, riper, fruit centered, higher alcohol and oak influenced wines.

Old World: Wine started being produced in Old World regions around 4000 BC (That we know of for certain).
New World: Wine started being produced in New World regions in the 1800’s (That’s a LONG time in between).