The Key Distinctions Between New World and Old World Wine

d-howell  VS.  el-enemigo

New World vs. Old World

The best thing about wine is that even if two wines were made from the same grape variety, their taste could still be vastly different based on the climate, the region, the growth, and the winemaking practice from their respected winery and vineyard. Wine can distinct themselves within two categories: New World and Old World wine. These are two different styles of wine that explore the contrast of nature vs. science. Many people who are not familiar with wine tasting or the practices of winemaking wouldn’t know the specific traits between the two worlds. Here’s the characteristics of a new and old world wine, their traits, and their distinction between each other.

Old World Wine

Old World wines refer to wines made in the traditional winemaking countries and regions, typically Europe and the Middle East. These are also the original birthplaces of wine. Notably, Old World wines include France, Spain, Italy, Germany, Greece, Israel, Romania, Austria, and Portugal.


Lighter-bodied, restrained, and lower in alcohol, the greatest age-worthy wines like Bordeauz and Port come from the Old World method of winemaking. It is traditionally more terroir (natural elements of the environment) and structure driven. The taste usually contains a higher acidity and less fruity. These wines will always tend to retain a more obvious minerality or savoriness.


The wine making for Old World wines are heavily restricted with guidelines that Old World wineries must follow. What is allowed to be planted, density of planting, pruning and training methods, use of oak, maximum yields, minimum ripeness at harvest, and certain winemaking techniques are most of the rules that are set for Old World wineries. Old World winemakers tend to be more open to use of wild, ambient yeast during the fermentation process as a part of the terroir, while New World winemakers tend to favor cultured yeast strains.


Each country and region has a certain way to make their wine and has been doing it for centuries. Old World comes with traditional standards and a history that has been a staple in their country’s wine culture for many decades. Longtime wine drinkers will tend to choose Old World over New World for its vintage, unchanged characteristics over centuries.

New World Wine

New World wines come from countries and regions that use to be colonies, where wine-growing was imported during and after European exploration around the 15th, 16th, or 17th century from immigrants and their descendants. In particular, prominent “New World Wine” countries are Argentina, Australia, Chile, South Africa, New Zealand, and the United States.


In New World wineries, there is considerably less emphasis on sticking to the same methods of making wine for years. Because New World regions have hotter climates, the grapes are riper, the wines are fuller bodied, and the flavors are bolder. The taste of these wines is considered fruitier, more varietal driven, modern, and clean. High alcohol also differentiates New World from Old World.


There are very few restrictions as compared to Old World, thus winemakers are free to plant any grape varieties and make the wine however way they want and change their techniques if they wished to. There is also more experimentation and more focus on using modern advances in making wine.


New World believes in less dedication to terroir and more on the preservation of varietal fruit components. New World vineyards adopt scientific and technological techniques to perfect the quality of the wine.

What Should You Choose

We can’t answer that for you as it depends on what sort of aspects of wine that you prefer. If you yearn for a more Mother Nature and natural making of your wine, then Old World would be your ideal choice. If a more modern, bolder flavor is what you want, New World would be perfect.

At Harry’s Wine and Spirits in Brentwood, we offer many vintage and new wines from across the world; a significant amount of New and Old World wines. Stop by Harry’s Corner and the owner himself will personally recommend the quintessential world wine for you as well as the perfect wine pairing.

2018-11-13T12:38:36-07:00October 14th, 2016|Community, domestic wine, international wine, wines|

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