Wine, in short, can be described as the product of fermented grapes. Humans have been consuming and enjoying wine for thousands of years.
A Brief History of Wine
It’s not 100% clear where wine making exactly started but historians suggest that China, Georgia and Iran in 6000 to 5000 BC could be the first sites of wine making in the world. All three are regions that wild grapes grew in, so any nomadic farming community may have stumbled across the bitter little fruits and fermented them. There is also suggestion that wine may have come from other regions and used as a trade item. Pottery jugs with trace elements of wine have been discovered in Mediterranean areas from 5400 BC through to 3000 BC, but it wasn’t until the Greek and Roman times that wine making spread as a job through Europe, along with the vines and early notions of viticulture.
With the advent of bottles and corks during Renaissance, wine trade blossomed due to easier transport of goods. Wines also spread with the influence of the religious ceremonies including wine.
During modern era, as shipping routes opened, the religious orders specifically made wine for trade alongside their wine for ceremony. Further refining by skilled wine workers meant an increase in production and international taste soared for quality product.
Phylloxera –a louse like insect—that destroyed most of Europe’s vineyards ironically ended up being a catalyst for the defining of current wine growing regions and standards. Considering grape varieties for their suitability became standard practice, alongside strict wine making and viticulture parameters that have reinforced the European industry.
Old World, New World
Old World and New World are common terms for wine producing countries in the world, based on whether wine making is originated from or introduced to. The countries that have an introduced history of wine culture and wine cultivation are considered as New World countries. Old World countries, on the other hand, are the birthplace of wine making.
Old World Wines
European nations like France, Italy and Spain are considered Old World countries. Their wine making techniques are more traditional with low intervention during the process. The other Old World countries are: Albania, Armenia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Cyprus, England, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Macedonia, Moldova, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Switzerland and Turkey.
Characteristics of Old World wines: They tend to be more rustic, structure driven, savoury, lighter-bodied, lower in alcohol, higher acidity, less fruity. There are many restrictions and regulations around which varietals to grow.
New World Wines
New World countries embrace technology and science in wine production. New World is led by Australia, New Zealand and South Africa. The other New World countries are: Argentina, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Mexico, Peru and United States.
Characteristics of New World wines: They tend to be more youthful, vibrant, fruity, higher in alcohol, varietal driven, less acidity, taste riper and sometimes even considered a little simple. There are very few restrictions exist when it comes to which varietals to grow.