葡萄酒社

World of Wine- Old World vs. New World

From Kerry Wilkinson

 
DR KERRY WILKINSON:
 
According to the Oxford dictionary,wine is an alcoholic drink made from fermented grape juice.While juices from a range of fruits, flowers,and herbs have been fermented to produce alcoholic beverages --for example, blackberry wine or elderflower wine --those are not considered to be wine by legal definition.
Throughout this course, we will consider wine to be the product of complete or partial fermentation of grapes or grape juice. Wine has a rich history that dates back thousands of years.
 
In fact, some of the earliest records suggest that wine was being produced as far back as 6000 BC, and winemaking continues to evolve, even today. These days, most of the world's great growing regions are located between latitudes of 40 and 50 degrees north in the northern hemisphere, and between 30 and 40 degrees south in the southern hemisphere.

These geographical regions provide the optimal climatic conditions for growing grapevines, and, therefore, for grape and wine production. You might have heard wine regions being referred to as Old World or New World. These terms traditionally reflect differences in viticultural and winemaking philosophies and practises, as well as the soil, climate, and topography or terroir of a region.

The Old World regions of Europe share a long history of winemaking, and over time, traditional practises in grape and wine production became the basis of local regulations.For example, the Appellation d'Origine Controlee in France, or the Denominazione di Origine Controllata in Italy.These regulations are strictly enforced in the Old World and are essentially the reason why only sparkling wine from the region of Champagne in France can be labelled and sold as champagne.
 
In contrast, New World wine regions in countries such as South Africa, Australia,North America, and Canada were established using a combination of Old World practises and innovative technologies that we'll discuss throughout this course.Today, winemaking practises developed in the New World are increasingly being adopted by Old World wine regions.
 
As a consequence, differences in winemaking philosophies are less apparent, and designations of Old World and New World more appropriately reflect the uniqueness of geographical regions more than any other characteristic. Until recently, most wine was consumed quite close to where it was produced, and for the most part, that was in Europe.

Barely 1/10 of the world's wine production was exported prior to the 1970s, even including trade within Europe.The latest wave of globalisation changed that completely.Now more than 1/3 of all wine consumed globally is produced in another country, and Europe's dominance of global wine trade has been greatly diminished by the surge of exports from New World producers.
 
The interactive zooming map on the next page provides some interesting data about the production
and consumption of wine from the top wine producing countries in the world.
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