Old World Wine vs New World Wine

Photo: Apartment Therapy

Is there a difference between wines that come from the Old World and those that come from the New World?  And does it matter?

First, yes, there can be distinct differences.  Although broad generalizations, these often apply:









Europe and the Middle East


Everywhere else, but especially North and South America.





Emphasis on vitis vinifera, the classic “noble” varieties.


Much more open to non-traditional varieties.





Cooler, leading to leaner flavors and tannins


Warmer, leading to fuller fruit and rounder tannins



Guiding Principles


Terroir (the sense of place of a wine’s origins,including climate and soil).


Grape varieties and the skill of the individual winemaker



Flavor Profiles


Earthiness, minerality, leaner tannins


More new French and American oak, and greater fruit extraction





Tighter, less aromatic, the wine often benefits from decanting




Fuller aromas which will sometimes benefit from decanting, but it’s not always needed





More tied to the history and traditions of the wine.  The production itself is more highly and specifically regulated.



More modern and innovative, but the wines can be more
industrial as well.





Less natural sugar content, which means lower final alcohol by volume, usually 12% or so


A higher natural sugar content from riper fruit, resulting in an ABV of 14 to 16%



General Characteristics


Elegant, restrained, lean, needs to be paired with food to maximize enjoyment



Opulent, lush, fruit-forward, can often be enjoyed on its own




Cheap to expensive


Cheap to expensive




Mediocre to extraordinary


Mediocre to extraordinary


Do these differences matter?  That is entirely up to you.  Wine enjoyment is driven by personal tastes, and you should always just drink what you like, regardless of the opinions and tastes of others.  That being said, my experience is that wine drinkers do tend to prefer one style over the other.  As you can tell if you look over my reviews, I’m very much a New World Wine kind of guy.

You can hear me talk in more detail about this topic on the Winervana Podcast page.

Top of page: https://winervana.com/blog/

3 Replies to “Old World Wine vs New World Wine”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *