The general difference between the old and the new world

When we speak about ‘Old World’ wine, we are referring to wine made in Europe. However, its cultural roots go back to the Roman Empire, where the first techniques of wine production, storage and distribution were developed.

New World wines are increasing their presence throughout the market. It focuses more on technology and efficiency, from now on also on quality with production. Thanks to this, it is easier to adapt to current trends and consumer habits. The New World style is based on commercial success and the production of ready-to-drink wine.

Old World Wines: We don’t just follow the rules. We made the rules.

Old World refers to Europe, and New World to the rest of the wine world, including countries like Argentina, Australia, South Africa, the United States, Chile, New Zealand, Mexico, all those producers outside of Europe.

New vs Old

To explain the differences between these two types of wines, we are going to analyse what the factors are that cause these differences to be detected in the final product. And those factors are fundamentally three:

  1. Climate
  2. Regulations
  3. Years of experience  

The climate

The wine regions or areas of Europe are mostly cooler than the others. In countries outside Europe where wine is made, the temperature ranges are higher, as is the number of hours of sun accumulated during maturation. This results in a higher production of sugars in the New World (therefore higher alcohol content), and higher polyphenolic maturation (therefore more colour, less sensation of astringency, more intense aromas and a “more robust body”).

And as a last point, lower level of acidity, since it is the fuel which the plant first uses to cope with heat (which obviously results in fewer grams per litre of natural acid). Of course, in the Old World, the opposite happens, where you get a lower alcohol content, softer colours, more marked astringency, more subtle aromas, “lighter body”, and higher acidity levels.

Old World wines, perfectly adapted to accompanying food, due to their characteristics they make you salivate more, cleanse the palate, and invite you to continue eating.

Meanwhile, those of the New World can be perfectly drunk without food as they are quite intense and very rich.

The regulatory framework

As for the grapes, or their correct name to specify the variety, it is customary in the Old World Рdue to appellations of origin and quality classifications Рto stick more closely to the autochthonous grapes. For example, the red wines of Bordeaux traditionally, are made of the Bordeaux blend (the six red grapes РCabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot, Carmen̬re and Malbec). The New World, due to the terroir conditions, has allowed greater flexibility in the selection of grapes.

Years of experience

The Old World has been producing wines for thousands and thousands of years, while the New World regions, such as America, have, at most, for five hundred years. This means that in Europe has a great experience, a deep knowledge of the terroirs, of the types of grapes most suitable for each one of them, with a wide ancestral tradition transmitted over generations.

In the New World, on the other hand, they are going on that path now, constantly experimenting, using science and technology to plant vineyards in the optimal areas, with the most appropriate varieties, creating a tradition while making the journey, and achieving results. that are exceeded year after year.

The world is very big and has many microclimates, so broadly speaking it is true that we can find these differences between the New World and the Old World, but each producer, each region and the thousands of varieties that exist give wealth to the world of wine and that is why each wine is different.


WSET level 3, passionate about gastronomy, food travel, exploring wine producers. I have been working in wine business for the past 8 years

4 thoughts on “The general difference between the old and the new world

    1. Happy New Year! Thank you so much for your kind words, we hope to be able to present more articles like this 🙂

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