Vast and thriving, the vineyards of the New World; America, Australia, New Zealand, Brazil, Argentina and Chile, have developed their own, special character. Though Europe is, indeed, the cradle of vine cultivation, from the 20th century onwards, New World countries are daring to create a new reality on the wine map.

Differences between wines of the Old and New World are often misunderstood. Many people are drawing separating lines between them, ignoring the philosophy behind each wine. It’s not the fact that a wine is better than another; they are certainly different.

Wines of the New World: The outset

For over a century, the countries of the New World had been carefully observing European wine producing techniques and came in to add a fresh, creative touch to it.

Vine cultivating started developing slowly in the beginning of the 16th century, after the discovery of America in 1492. Wine revolution was delayed by four centuries. From the 1980s onwards, the New and Old Worlds started a mutual trade. Large champagne houses, like French Moët et Chandon, started buying land and cultivating vineyards at New World territories. The elite of Bordeaux was to follow: Baron Philippe de Rothschild, with Robert Mondavi. During the next decades many French vine growers sent their children in American or Australian universities to study the new trends in oenology.

The philosophy

The wines and winemakers of the New World embodied the business venture that would be expected from the descendants of economic migrants. Starting from scratch, and without any historical tradition of renowned vineyards as background, the winemakers of the New World built their own, innovative philosophy. As a matter of fact, they invested in “value for money”, investing in the acreage yield of the vineyards. To achieve this, they experimented a lot; they fearlessly applied new techniques in an effort to get to know and make good use of the New World’s terroir.

Techniques and wine styles

Free from strict procedures that would make production difficult, they gained their own vital space, instead of adopting European tradition. Moreover, they, early on, separated themselves from the Old World’s wine style, orientating to their own, modern winemaking techniques, creating wines with great growth potential, special varietal character and the freedom to mix different blends. The warmer climate of New World contributes to a generally fuller body and bolder fruit flavour in wine. Youthful and easy to drink, they are often high in alcohol, and sweet in the mouth.

Wines of the Old World

On the other hand, due to their long historic tradition, the wines of the Old World are truly better acclimatised and maintain a production consistency that spans centuries. The three greatest of Europe, France, Italy and Spain, firmly hold the reins of wine production. For the more romantic, the legendary terroir of Bordeaux vineyards is synonymous to the unsurpassed quality of a wine.

Nevertheless, the long heritage hidden behind Old World wines binds wine making to certain production standards. Strict wine producing rules have remained unsurpassed for centuries and ultimately determine the style of wine. Characteristic wines of the Old World tend to have a lighter body, be more restrained, have a lower alcohol content, high acidity and often resemble the aroma of wood and spices. We shouldn’t, of course, be generalising, since these characteristics alternate from wine to wine.


Old World

Νew World

Lower in alcohol Higher in alcohol
Higher acidity Sweet fruit flavours
Usually lighter More whole body
Sticking to the terroir Sticking to the varieties
Specific winemaking techniques and rules Experimenting and innovation
Area of origin has a leading position on the label Label emphasising the variety of wine
Cork Screw topped

The geographical map of wine production is expanding daily and that is why the world wine market is constantly changing. Even if the prestige and tradition of European, and especially French, wines are still a point of reference for some, more classic, wine lovers, they by no means monopolise the market. Both Worlds have equally qualified, fine wines to offer to the public and we should certainly face them equally!