New World Wines: A Guide to American Wine, Australian Wine, Chilean Wine, and Argentine Wine

Europe and Middle East are the major wine producing regions. Wines from these regions are called also referred to as Old World Wine due to the fact that grapes have been cultivated in these regions since hundreds of years, if not thousands, and the wines have been in production since at least 5 thousand years. However, grapes are cultivated and wine is produced outside these regions and the wine from these regions are referred to as New World Wine. The large producer of New World Wines are the United States, Australia, Chile, Argentina, Canada, Mexico, and South Africa.

New World Wine: The US Wine

Winemaking in the United States of America has been in existence over 300 years ago but recently, the country has climbed the edge to be one of the world-leading countries producing wine. Although most wine connoisseurs are of the notion that best wines come from the Mediterranean regions – France, Italy, and Spain because of their adaptive climate to the growing of grapes. Wines produced in the U.S. have also been tested to be of good quality just as wines from the Mediterranean.

Vineyard viticulture was established by Spaniards and missionaries in the U.S. during the early 1500s. As they began their  missions in the country, they cultivated Mexican vine cuttings that were brought into the country from Mexico.

For many years, the most popular wines were Bordeaux and Chardonnay. But in the 1980s, the fancy many people had for these varieties started reducing especially as more varieties were available in wine shops. This is because of the rate at which French, Italian and Spanish wine producers started importing their wines into the country as the fastest growing economy in the world. Vineyards in America began to explore newer and hybrid grape varieties from Italy, France and Spain. 

According to the statistics published in 2018 by the International Organisation of Vine and Wine, USA is the fourth largest producer in the world. Despite the fact that USA remains the world’s largest market for wine imports, the country is still able to fill the gap between imports and exports. USA is ranked the 6th largest exporter of wines behind France, Italy, Spain, Australia and Chile. The American wine industry generated a revenue of US$ 1.47 billion from export sales of 375 million liters of wines in 2018.

The most prolific wine region is Napa Valley, California was established in 1769. About 90% of American wines are produced from California with over 1,200 wineries. The Mediterranean climate in the Napa valley is highly conducive to growing quality grapes which influences the flavor, taste and quality of wines produced. It also aids the fermentation process resulting to an increase in the alcohol content. Most Californian wines contain over 13.5% of alcohol. The State of California produces several varietals of red and white wines. The most important red wine varieties are Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Pinot noir, Syrah and Zinfandel while the best white wines are Sauvignon blanc and Chardonnay.

There are other wine regions of course in other parts of America where very good wines are produced. These are the Great Lakes of Michigan and the Colorado Rocky mountain regions. Just like the Napa valley, these regions have attractive weather conditions that supports the cultivation of quality grapes for winemaking.

The American wine industry have gone a lot more spectacular by importing Italian, French and Spanish grape varieties to produce its wines. Therefore without difference, the United States wines are of the same taste and quality with wines from France, Italy and Spain. Plant breeding technology to grow hybrid grape varieties has enabled wine regions in the U.S. to produce wines of all kinds and quality.

The USA wines are gaining the interests of Americans and foreigners such that many of them like to spend their entire vacation around vineyards. Many tourists go on tour to Napa valley wineries such as Ravenswood and Clos Pegase to have a sample taste of these exceptional wines. 

U.S. wines of high quality and vintage are without doubt one of the best you should consider adding as a complement to your wine experience. 

New World Wine: Australian Wine

Australia produced 1.29 billion liters of wine in 2018 ranking the country as the 6th largest producer of wine globally. More than 60% of the total production in volume is exported annually to the world market. Based on an export value of 849 million liters that generated $2.8 billion as of 2018, Australia is ranked the 5th largest exporter of wine after France, Italy, Spain, and Chile. The Australian wine industry contributes significantly to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of the economy. Revenue of over $40 billion is generated annually to the economy.

Approximately 2,468 wineries produce fruity red, white and sparkling wines from quality grapefruits. The top five wineries are Penfolds, Hardys, Wynns Coonawarra Estate, Yarra Yering and Morris.

There are 65 regions in all the States of Australia where the wines are produced. Many grape varieties are cultivated, harvested and crushed in each of the regions. South Australia is the most famous wine producing State having 18 regions. This is because the State produces more than 50% of the total production volume. The best quality wines produced in Australia have been helpful to the tourism industry of the country. Many Australians and foreigners visit these regions as tourist attraction centers. Therefore, an overall boom of these regions.

The grapes used in winemaking are not locally originated from Australia. The major wine types which include Shiraz, Sauvignon Blanc, Sparkling white, Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay are made from grapes that were introduced to Australia and have been domesticated. Vitis vinifera grape (Syrah), locally domesticated as Shiraz was introduced to Australia from Europe and South Africa. 

Shiraz takes 30% of the total vineyard regions in Australia, making it the most preferred variety for making wines. Based on the policy that wines are to be named from the dominant grapefruit, Shiraz wine was named after the grape. Recently, wineries have also been using imported varieties from France, Italy, and Spain such as Petit Verdot, Sangiovese, Tempranillo, and Viognier. Australian viticulturists also cultivate Cienna and Tarrango varieties.

Shiraz wines are particularly a preferred choice because they come in a lot of styles. The cheap, tasty wines with ripe plum and blackberry fruit express distinct characteristics from the regions they are produced from such as spice and pepper from the cool-climate areas like Yarra Valley and the Adelaide Hills.

Australia will continue to be recognized as one of the top wine producing countries in the world.

New World Wine: Argentine Wine

The historical record of how winemaking started in Argentina as far back in the late 16th century when Spanish vines were brought into the country by Spanish missionaries and conquistadors. Though the history of winemaking is not as vibrant as that of its counterparts like France and Italy, they made it up to standard through the quality of wines they produce. What really favored winemaking in Argentina apart from the great growing regions? The beautiful weather and the soil nature of the country. Argentina is so blessed with longer sunny seasons than cold seasons. The longer photoperiod allows for early grape maturity and also with the best flavor. In complement to the weather factor, Argentine soils are fertile and well cared for. Most wines respond to the quality of fruits produced by Argentine viticulturists.

In the world of winemaking, Argentina is stunningly rising as one of the most popular producers and exporters of red wine. Argentina is the largest wine producer in South America taking more than 45% of the continent’s production. Atgentina is also the world’s fifth largest wine producer. Argentina wine industry is growing especially in its export value to the international market.

The Argentine wine industry is dominated by popular wine producers from Europe and America producing their wines using sophisticated technologies. You will find Familia Zuccardi, Colome, Bodegas Salentein, Trapiche, and Familia Schroeder. Argentina’s wine industry has been quite impressive with just about 1,300 wineries with small land areas and less populated. These wineries produce exceptional wine tastes that compete with other finest wines from their top counterparts. Argentine wine has won numerous awards in many international wine competitions. For example, in 2018, Argentine wine won 378 awards in the Decanter World Wine Awards.

Argentina is popular in winemaking for its most sought Red Malbec brand. Other red wines include Tempranillo, Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah and Merlot. If you are in search of white wines, go for Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc and Riesling.

There are three principal winemaking regions in Argentina – The Mandoza, San Juan and La Rioja.

The Mendoza region has been the most important wine regions since the start of the industry. This is because it produces more than 60% of the country’s total production. The first French vines in the region were grown in 1880 by a French botanist. Some varieties were also introduced by winemakers from Italy and Spain. Mendoza is naturally dry with less water, but thanks to the impressive physical geography of the Andes that surround the region to the west. In the hot summer months, the Andes provide water from melting snow and cool breezes at night.

San Juan is another leading region in the ranking of second wine production after Mendoza. Although the environment is much hotter and drier than Mendoza. San Juan is popular for the quality of the production of high-quality red varieties of Syrah. This region is also known for the production of spirits and vermouth.

The La Rioja region is known to produce more red wines than other varieties. About 75% of the wines produced in the region are red grape varieties, others are whites and rosés. Majority of the production comes from crushing a Spanish grape variety, Tempranillo to produce a single wine from the Rioja vineyard.

New World Wine: Chilean Wine

Chile is one of the best places to explore amongst wine producing countries in the world. Since the inception of the Spanish vine, Chile has gone on to become home to best winemakers in the world. Chile occupies a long narrow strip area down the western coast of the South American continent and often overshadowed by its European competitors. Nonetheless, Chilean wine has gradually grown and today is available in the world export market.

Over the past 30 years, Chile has been exploring its wine production from grapevines planted by viticulturists in 1548 and imported varieties from Bordeaux in the 1800s. The Chilean wine industry experienced a significant change in the 1990s when it started exporting its wines which have been consumed domestically in the past. Since then, the world’s interest in the quality and value of Chilean wines have substantially increased. The growth and evolution of the Chilean wine industry with technology have increased the export net revenue from about US$182 million to US$2 billion from 1995 to 2018. As of 2018, Chile is placed on the 4th position of the world wine export by countries and still maintains its status as a top wine producing country globally.

Chile is best at producing versatile brands of white and red wines among which include Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Carménère, and Pinot Noir. Chile have won several awards in different international wine competitions. Interestingly, Chile recently added a feather to its cap after winning 438 medals which include five platinum medals in the 2018 Decanter World Wine Awards (DWWA), the world’s biggest wine competition. The success from various wine competitions has seen many European wine producers going on a tour to Chilean wineries to know more about their method of production. Chilean wine regions and wineries are an incredible place to visit as one of the largest wine producers in the world. The main regions include Maipo, Casablanca and Aconcagua. Various surrounding landscapes influence the climate of these regions. The Andes, the Pacific Ocean, the Patagonia and the Atacama Desert in the East, West, South and North respectively, have a cooling effect to cool the warm climate and support the cultivation of grapevines. 

Chile offers more than 20 different grape varieties, with Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot still the most popular. Chilean farmers are also interested in experimenting with various grape varieties and even some varieties of Gewurztraminer and Viognier. However, they have not yet been developed on a large scale. One of Chile’s biggest claims on viticulture is the rare harvest of Carmenere. In the 20th century, many wine experts were afraid of the Chilean wines Merlot and Sauvignon Blanc. To achieve this goal, ampelographers were hired to test the wines and vines used in production. The results showed that the Merlot was actually an old Carmenere vine from the Bordeaux region, which is now thought to be extinct, as well as Sauvignon – Sauvignon vine. Since then, Chilean farmers have successfully introduced the Merlot and Sauvignon Blanc varieties and France has reintroduced the Carmenere grape variety.

Chilean wines are world-class wines that you will love.

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