Old World vs New World

Map showing Old World vs New World

Updated July 19th 2023

Old World vs New World, what is the difference? The wine industry is full of its own vocabulary and expressions. With this guide we straighten out the questions about Old World vs New World wines. Find out which countries are considered Old World wine countries and which ones are New World.

Nowadays you can find wine from China, Sweden and even Tahiti. Wines from these countries were not available until recently. These new wine-making countries are called New World wine countries. Countries with a long history of making wine are called Old World wine countries. Why is this relevant for the average wine drinker? Different countries make different styles of wine, and wine will taste differently depending on the country and area where it comes from.

What is Old World Wine?

Old World is an expression used to describe countries where wine has been made for thousands of years. Originally, wine was only produced in the Old World. Nowadays these traditional wine-growing areas often have strict wine-making rules and legislations to protect their heritage.

Just because a wine comes from an Old World country, it does not automatically mean it is a good wine. There are many factors impacting the quality of the wine - grape variety, production method, weather conditions, terroir and much more! Many wine drinkers consider Old World wines to be more complex and interesting. Often Old World wines are more elegant, earthy and mineral with good structure and acidity. A great example of Old World wines include Chardonnay and Pinot Noir from Burgundy, Riesling from the Mosel valley, Port wine from Douro and Barolo from Piedmont.

Old World Countries

Old World countries are: France, Italy, Spain, Portugal, Germany, Austria, Hungary, Greece, Georgia, Moldova, Turkey and Armenia. Some of these countries are still some of the largest wine producing countries in the world. More than half of the entire wine production in the world comes from Italy, France and Spain. Old World countries are not just producing a lot of wine, but also drinking. France sits on top of the list of wine drinking per capita, followed by Portugal and Moldova.

What is New World Wine?

New World is an expression for all the wine producing countries that are not included in the Old World. Wine-making in these countries began more recently than the traditional wine growing areas of Europe. In some New World countries, such as the USA, wine has been made for hundreds of years which is still a significant time. Some of the most exciting wines come from the New World. The quality of New World wine ranges from poor to top quality. Compared to the wines from the old world, those from the new world are often more innovative, round, full-bodied, ripe and fruity. They tend to be less complex and have higher alcohol. There are many affordable and interesting wines from the New World, such as Cabernet Sauvignon from Napa Valley, Chenin Blanc from South Africa, Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand and Shiraz from Australia. These wines are considered some of the best New World wines.

New World Countries

New World Countries include basically every wine producing country which does not belong to the Old World. Some of the most famous new world countries are USA, South Africa, Australia, New Zeeland, Chile and Argentina. Other less known New World wine countries include China, India, Japan, the UK and Sweden. In these countries, wine has only been produced for a few centuries or decades.

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