Old World vs. New World Wine

The terms “Old World” and “New World” are often used to describe wine. But what makes one wine “Old World” and what makes another “New World?” (Note: the difference is NOT that Aladdin’s “A Whole New World” is played throughout production of New World wine. I’m just as disappointed as you are.)

Region is the real way to distinguish Old World wine from New World wine. 

Old World wine is produced in France, Germany, Italy, Greece, Spain, and regions in North Africa and the Middle East. Winemaking was birthed in the Old World; so many of these regions have been producing wine for thousands of years. The climate in Old World regions is cool to moderate.

New World wine is produced in the U.S., Australia, Chile, Argentina, and South Africa. The New World has been producing wine since the sixteenth century, so it is much younger in contrast to the Old World. The climate in New World regions is moderate to warm.

While region is the most definite, there are 3 other ways to to differentiate Old World and New World wine: Naming, Style, and Taste.


Old World: Old World wine is named for where the wine is made.
Ex: Malbec made in the Cahors region of France will be called Cahors, not Malbec.
New World: New World wine is named for the grape used to make it.
Ex: a wine made from the Malbec varietal in Mendoza, Argentina will be called Malbec, not Mendoza.


Old World: This style is very traditional, often causing a higher cost of production.
New World: New World style is modern and innovative. These techniques generally cause moderate to lower production costs.


Old World: Old World wines are generally lighter-bodied, herbaceous and earthy. Usually they have lower alcohol content and higher tannins.
New World: New World wine are commonly heavier-bodied, fruity, and ripe. Usually they have higher alcohol content and lower tannins.



Bright Cellars

Our staff is full of passionate wine lovers. With our amazing sommeliers at the helm, we’ve been schooled on all things wine. We came together to write this article, in hopes of spreading a little wine-ducation with you.

  1. Thank you for the offer of the Old World Wines, but I prefer not to receive any of these at this time.

    Thank you.

    1. Hi, Loretta, we’re so sorry to hear that, but thanks for letting us know. I’m forwarding your comment to our Wine Concierge Team who can assist you. Look for an email from concierge@brightcellars.com. Thanks for reading and best of luck on your job search.

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