A furious battle has broken out over whether it is demeaning to say that New World wines come from the New World.
Producers from the Cape, South America and California have lined up to condemn the expression, with some Europeans siding with them.
‘The term ‘New World wine’ is a disgrace,’ said Rose-Anne Segla of Chateau Croquet Mallet in Bordeaux. ‘It should be called fermented grape juice – it barely tastes like wine at all.’
However, Hanni Getyergun, who makes wine in South Africa’s Kokkenring Valley told Fake Booze that dividing wine producing countries up into a simplistic binary classification such as Old World and New World was fundamentally wrong.
‘It’s totally prejudicial to imply that weight of history makes one culture superior to another,’ he said. ‘Don’t forget that some of my vines have been planted since before apartheid.’
Brad Schnauzer of Cookie Cutter wines in California agreed. ‘Terms like this are just simplistic and patronising,’ he told Fake Booze.
‘My Big Fat Mofo range of cookie-flavoured wines deserve the same respect as Chateau Lafite.’
US drinks writer Eric Nastikov pointed out that the term ‘Old World’ was tainted with colonialist overtones.
‘It’s clearly unjust that one country or region’s businesses should be allowed to dominate an entire industry,’ he said. ‘And I will be posting about exactly this on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram shortly before my documentary comes out on Netflix, Disney+, Apple or Amazon.’
In Brussels, the World Organisation for the Creation, Retail and Production of wine (WOTCRAP) said that it would consider prohibiting the term New World if enough countries found it offensive.
The organisation told Fake Booze it was considering ‘less pejorative’ descriptors such as ‘Barbarian wine’, ‘Vin a Deuxieme Classe’ and ‘Vin Arriviste’.
When asked where non-European countries with thousands of years of wine production, such as China, Lebanon and Israel would fit in to the new system, a spokesman said he ‘couldn’t care less.’
‘Terms like Old World wine and New World wine are just not helpful any more,’ said blogger Ella Biscuits. ‘And young people are very sensitive to words with negative connotations.
‘So I’d suggest dropping the term ‘wine’ altogether and calling it ‘low alcohol grape flavoured gin’.’
If you like ‘drinks naming’ stories – and who doesn’t, frankly – why not click here to find out why science says it’s OK to call a wine ‘paleo’.