Wine 101: The Differences Between Italian and American Wine
There are many components in a bottle of wine that makes it unique. It all depends on how the grapes are grown, what kind of grapes are used, how long it took to produce and so much more. When looking at all the kinds of wine from around the world, many begin to wonder what the differences are between them. Specifically, what the differences are between wine from Italy and wine from the United States. Each have their own ways of producing wine, and they’re very different:
Younger vs. Older
For thousands of years, wine has been studied and perfected by Italians. They have spent generation after generation passing down their love of wine and how they make it. When it comes right down to it, one of the biggest differences between Italian and American wine is the age. The “New World” wine from the United States is much younger than the “Old World” wine made in Italy. It wasn’t until 1838 that California’s wine industry began in Napa Valley when George Yount began planting grapes. From there, California did all it could to catch up on the thousands of more years of the wine expertise Italy had.
Research vs. Tradition
Over many generations of growing grapes and producing some of the greatest wine in the world, Italy depends on the thousands of years of trial and error. When producing wine, they look to their ancestors, the land and nature. Growing grapes for the wine heavily depends on air currents and large temperature differentials on slope-side vineyards to ensure the grapes stay dry and warm. They also don’t rely on irrigation, as opposed to California. Producing wine in California is all about research. Before even planting, they rely on science and experiments to see which land produces the best grapes for wine.
Flatland vs. Hilltops
Some of Italy’s best wine comes from the hilltops of the land. Many of the grapes are grown on steep hills and land that has been planted on for thousands of years. It wasn’t until there became a higher demand for Italian wine when producers moved to the flatlands of the valley to grow their grapes. Flatter lands mean the yield is greater, cultivation is easier, but the wine that is produced isn’t considered as high quality. Wine produced from the hilltops of Italy is much finer and traditional. California chooses to operate on a majority of flatlands because it’s an easier location to work.
There are history and tradition behind Italian wine that must be appreciated. But California produces some of the best wine in the world through attention to detail and heavy research. Each region and way of producing has their advantages and setbacks, but each result in a delicious and exquisite taste.