Old versus New


Have you heard people referring to Old World and New World wine and wondered exactly what they were going on about? Well, there are some differences between Old World and New World wine, how the winemaking takes place and the regional climates that affect the tastes of the wine.

Old World Wine: this relates to wines from countries or regions where winemaking first originated. Such regions include Italy, France, Germany, Greece and Portugal. These are countries that have been making wine for thousands of years. Old World also includes Turkey, Georgia, Moldova and Armenia, where the oldest winemaking site was discovered.

New World Wine: this relates to wines from countries or regions where winemaking practices and grapes were imported during and after the age of exploration, mainly from the 16th century onwards. These include Australia, the United States, Chile, New Zealand, Argentina and South Africa. Any wines from China, India and Japan would also fall into this category.

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So is there any noticeable taste difference between Old and New? Quite often, yes there is. This difference is usually down to the winemaking practices involved and from the different climate, soil and land effects on the grapes. Old World wines are said to taste lighter, have a higher acidity, contain lower alcohol levels and are less fruity. On the other hand, New World wines are described as riper, less acidic, contain higher alcohol levels and taste much more fruity. For Online wine merchants in Northern Ireland, visit http://thewinecompanyni.com/.

However, as with everything, there are some exceptions to this rule. This is because winemakers have a fair amount of control when it comes to affecting how a wine will ultimately taste. You could say it is a winemaking preference if you want, but many Old World regions have rules and regulations that state how winemaking practices should be carried out, which ultimately decides a wine’s style. For example, if you made Malbec with the exact same winemaking techniques in Argentina and then in France, the wines would taste similar but not the same. In this case, the difference is in the climatic conditions of the two regions.

The main trait of all Old World wine countries is that their practices are heavily regulated, with guidelines that all wineries must adhere to. Each region has been making wine for so long that current winemakers are held to those standards. There is a certain heritage and romance behind drinking Old World wines.

New World wines are much more entrepreneurial in spirit and embody the kind of freedom that immigrants and their descendants felt when searching for a better life. There is much variation and experimentation in the winemaking practices here and the emphasis is on taking advantage of modern advances and not so much on tradition and heritage.

Both styles of wine have a lot to offer and those who say they only drink one kind, won’t be appreciating the bigger picture. Trends in wine drinking come and go, just like any other fashion and the current trend seems to be to favour Old World but in the spirit of globalisation, why not enjoy both Old and New!

Written by Jason Harris