It is amazing how the term ‘New World wine’, and the concepts that it carries with it, stick. It makes all the wines made in non-European countries sound, well, new.
That of course is very far from the truth. Lord Byron’s grandfather waxed lyrical about the wines he found in Chile in the 1740’s on Commodore Anson’s circumnavigation of the world. Napoleon 1 found great solace in sipping Constantia whilst contemplating the wallpaper on St Helena and Robert Louis Stevenson loved California’s Schramsberg – to list just three relatively early brushes with ‘New World wines’ – which together span around 140 years. It almost sounds like an oxymoron, but most of the really old vine material in the world is grown in the, you’ve guessed it, ‘New World’.
Europeans went to the ‘New World’ for all sorts of reasons and over many centuries. Legions of British people left these shores for colonies that still thought of themselves as British, the same applied to Spaniards going to South America, but many also journeyed to places that had no direct link with their homeland. British people and Germans flooded into the fledgling United States, while enormous numbers of Italians headed for Argentina where they intermarried with Spanish immigrants to create this exciting, vibrant country.