New World Plantings and Dates

The world of wine is divided into two groups: the new world and the old world. The old world refers to countries where wine has been made for thousands of years, starting in ancient times. This includes all of the European wine producing countries like France, Italy, Germany, Spain, Portugal, and parts of Eastern Europe. The new world refers to countries where winemaking is relatively new compared to the old world, although in most cases this still means hundred of years old. The new world consists of the United States, Canada, Mexico, South America, South Africa, Australia, and New Zealand. Thus, all New World plantings and dates emerged during or from the age of Colonialism and exploration as European nations traveled outward. 

New World vs Old World Wine

In general the wine world assigns certain stylistic traits to both the old and new world.

The old world is known for having a slightly cooler climate compared to the new world. Therefore, the grapes don’t ripen quite as much, producing wines that are lower in alcohol, higher in acid, and lighter bodied than the new world. They also tend to have less fruit aromas and flavors and more earthy, mineral notes.

The new world is generally considered to have a slightly warmer climate, meaning the grapes get slightly riper, which leads to wines with higher alcohol levels, lower acid, fuller bodies, and more fruit flavors and aromas. It’s important to note that these descriptions are very general, and there are many regions and wines that are exceptions. 

Another big difference between the new and old world is the amount of tradition and innovation in each. The old world has a long history with wine and has developed many traditions around wine and winemaking. For instance many regions in the old world are only allowed to plant certain wine varietals or use certain winemaking techniques.

The new world’s wine history is much shorter and therefore lacking many of  these kinds of traditions to follow. This allows the new world a little bit more freedom to innovate and experiment with their wine. Although similar to the stylistic traits, this is a generalization and there are exceptions in both the old and new world. 

New World Growth

The old world dominated much of the world’s wine industry in the 20th century. But as the 21st century progresses, the new world’s wine industries have grown, matured, and have begun to create more competition for the old world.

In 2020 Italy, France, and Spain were the top three largest producers of wine. But the next five largest wine producing countries were all located in the new world. Starting with the top producer, they were the United States, Argentina, Australia, South Africa, and Chile. All together these five countries were responsible for producing 25% of the world’s total wine. 

It’s an exciting time for the new world wine regions. Their wine industries have continued to grow as they continue to evolve and produce higher quality wines. Considering how long wine has been made in some of these regions, it’s amazing the progress that has been made in such a small amount of time. Below is a new world planting and dates timeline featuring major dates in the history of the new world wine regions, including when winemaking grapevines were first introduced into the country. Also check out this interactive map showing which old world countries were the first to introduce wine into each of new world countries. 

See also: The History of New World Wine

Timeline of New World Plantings and Dates

  • 1530

    Grape vines were planted in Colombia

    After the first planting, Catholic priests in monasteries around the...
  • 1540

    First vines were planted in Peru

    Peru became the first nation in Latin America to produce...
  • 1549

    Grapes were first planted in Mexico

    Spanish settlers initially planted grapes in Mexico in the sixteenth...
  • 1551

    First vines planted in Chile

    According to local lore, Francisco de Aguirre personally planted the...
  • 1554

    The planting of European Vitis vinifera vines in Chile

    Around 1554 in the 16th century, Spanish conquistadors and missionaries...
  • 1556

    First vines in Argentina

    When cuttings from the Chilean Central Valley were transported to...
  • 1629

    Spanish Missionaries introduced vines planting in New Mexico

    In 1629, when Spanish missionaries first arrived in what is...
  • 1655

    First vines were planted in South Africa

    When the Dutch East India Company first arrived in Cape...
  • 1769

    Vineyard planting begun in California

    The Spanish Franciscan Missionaries planted the first vineyards in the...
  • 1788

    First Vines in Australia

    The First Fleet and Captain Arthur Phillip of the British...
  • 1800s

    More plantings in Oregon

    Numerous immigrants to Southern Oregon in the 1880s experimented with...
  • 1811

    First vines were planted in Ontario Canada

    In Ontario, grapevines were first planted in 1811, and winemaking...
  • 1812

    First vines were planted in Sonoma

    Russian farmers and fur trappers established the first grape vines...
  • 1819

    First vines plantings in New Zealand

    In September 25, 1819, Charles Gordon, Superintendent of Agriculture, planted...
  • 1823

    Mass Grape growing begun in Sonoma

    Not until shortly after 1823, when Spanish missionaries started building...
  • 1825

    First Vines planted in Washington

    The first vineyard was planted in Washington in 1825, marking...
  • 1830

    Vineyards were replanted in Algeria

    In order to meet the demands of the nearby pieds-noir,...
  • 1839

    First plantings in Napa Valley

    George Calvert Yount planted the first vineyard in 1839. Later,...
  • 1847

    First vines planting in Oregon

    Horticulturist Henderson Luelling, who arrived in the territory via the...
  • 1861

    The first commercial winery was established in Napa Valley

    The first commercial winery in the Napa Valley was established...

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Karlsson, Per and Britt. n.d. “Wine Production in the World in 2020, a Detailed Look.” Forbes.