The Differences Between Old World and New World Wines

Want to further your wine education? Make sure to take a look at our guide to the differences between Old World and New World wines—we’ve got that here!

Wondering what people are talking about when they say “Old World” and “New World” about wines? We know that the world of wine terminology can be a confusing one, and we want to help. Below, you’ll discover the differences between Old World and New World wines with a few key notes to explain. Read on!

The Specific Wine Regions

One of the easiest ways for new wine drinkers to understand the idea of Old World and New World is through wine regions or locations. To put it super simply, Old World refers to Europe, and New World refers to all the regions outside of that.

Old World

Old World wines come from the regions where winemaking traditions first originated—they’ve influenced all other winemaking areas and choices. Here’s a list of some specific countries:

  • France: If you want to learn wine, then you have to learn France
  • Italy
  • Portugal
  • Germany
  • Spain
  • Croatia

New World

Now, to most people in the world, Africa and the Americas aren’t considered “new.” But in the world of wines, these are the areas newer to winemaking. They’ve “borrowed” traditions from the Old World to kickstart their own methods and techniques.

  • North America: California is a big one
  • South America: Chile and Argentina are big players
  • Australia
  • New Zealand
  • South Africa
  • China

The Name Labeling Choices

What a bottle of wine is called can differ for a variety of reasons, but one of them is the distinction between Old World and New World. For Old World wines, they’re typically named after the place they come from. You’ll see “Chateau…” or something similar. You may also find names like Bordeaux, Rioja, and Chianti—they’re wine-producing regions and the wine is simply from there.

New World, on the other hand, put the variety on the label, give the wine a creative name, or something else. This isn’t always a sure-fire way to distinguish between the two, but it can help you understand! 

The Difference in Taste

Last thing that will show some of the differences between Old World and New World wines comes from the taste. It’s by no means a rule winemakers have to follow, but you may find that Old World wines tend to have a lighter body, higher acidity, and less fruity flavor. There are a few reasons why this happens, but the majority of those characteristics come from the winemaking process.

New World winemaking processes often involve stainless steel tanks, which brings in more fruit flavors. But in general, you may find that New World wines have a fuller body and higher alcohol. Again, not a sure-fire way to differentiate, but it does help.

There’s a brief look at the difference between Old World and New World—hopefully, it helps you understand the wine world a bit more. If you have anyone in your life who’s trying to learn more, make sure to send them some wine. From corporate wine gifts to gifts for friends, Wines ‘Til Sold Out will help everyone on their quest to learn more about wine!


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