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Wines from countries you wouldn’t suspect

By Catalogs Editorial Staff

Top Wine Producing Regions in the World: Old World vs. New World Wines

Top Wine Producing Regions in the World: Old World vs. New World Wines

Wines from around the world are characterized primarily by their specific geographic locations. There are a myriad of wines from surprise wine producing countries. Wine afficionados can often name a list of surprise wine-producing countries, but there are many countries with a flourishing wine industry that are not often thought of by wine neophytes.

When it comes to growing and harvesting grapes for wine making, there are key geographic locations that feature ideal soil quality with specific mineral compositions, as well as ideal weather and climatic conditions.

Typically, wines from different countries are divided into the categories of ?old world? and ?new world? wines. Old world wines hail from the ancient vineyards of France, Italy, Germany, Spain, Portugal, and even Greece. These are the countries that come to mind first when naming wine-producing areas.

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New world wines have been produced more recently, since the fifteenth century, in geographic locations discovered by European colonizers and explorers. The category of new world wines includes wines produced in California, Ontario, Canada, Brazil, Chile, Argentina, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa.

If you are interested in exploring the varieties, flavors, characteristics and histories of wines from different countries, its best to begin your adventure by focusing on a handful of key geographic locations. Once you have selected a specific geographic region, ask your local gourmet wine seller for recommendations. Fine and unusual wines can be bought from online wine sellers, ordered from a wine distributor, or discovered at gourmet food and wine stores. You will discover many surprise wine-producing countries.

Visit your local library or bookshop to find books or other publications featuring informational overviews and detailed descriptions of wines from different countries. Many cookbooks or online recipe sites will offer recommendations and recipes to prepare regional dishes that will compliment particular wines. 

Anyone seeking tips, inspiration or immediate guidance regarding the most highly esteemed international wines will benefit from familiarizing themselves with this overview of key geographic locations and their respective wine specialties.

Old World Wines

San Gimignano, Italy

San Gimignano, Italy is an ancient, medieval city in Tuscany. During the 13th century, a dry white wine produced in this region was described in Dante’s Inferno. This decadent wine variety, named Vernaccia di San Gimiganano is still produced in the region today, and celebrated as one of the very best old world wines.

Chateauneuf-du-Pape, France

The town of Chateauneuf-du-Pape translates as “new castle of the Pope,” from the days when the Pope ruled from nearby Avignon. Although the Pope no longer resides in this area of Avignon region, the town still produces some of the best French wines.

Mainz, Germany

The banks of the Rhine river valley have remained as one of the top wine producing regions in the world for over two thousand years. The fertile countryside encompassing the Rhine river has gained great fame for Rieslings, Muller-Thurgau and Sylvaners. 

New world vineyards often produce the wines from countries you wouldn’t suspect. These wines may be more difficult to find, but are wonderful discoveries for eager palates. France, Italy and Germany, listed above, are usually the first countries that come to mind when thinking about wine-producing countries.

The list of unusual wine-producing countries includes Canada, Argentina, Moldava, Ukraine, Brazil, Argentina, Britain and China.

New World Wines

Los Olivos, California, USA

Traditionally, Napa Valley has been hailed as the primary wine producing region of California.  However, the small, quaint Victorian town of Los Olivos, just north of Santa Barbara, has been getting recent press and publicity as one of the best Pinot Noir producing regions in California.  The town gained recent fame as the setting for the popular movie Sideways.

Niagara Region of Ontario, Canada

The Niagara Region of Canada has a unique micro-climate, ideal for European-style grape growing. The Niagara regions produces award-winning Rieslings, Chardonnays and Merlots. The region has become internationally renowned for its production of Ice wine, a sweet dessert wine made from grapes that have been left on the vine through the first freeze, and then pressed.

Brisbane, Australia

Australian wines have gained popularity in the international market place. Brisbane has gained  famed for its production of Shiraz, as well as production of unique fruit-wine flavors of Pineapple, Mango and Kiwi. 


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