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Changes in Wine Production Essay


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Changes in Wine Production


The US wine industry has been on an upward trend over the past four decades. As such, the industry has been also been changing as the world continues to make significant milestones with regard to wine production, grape growing, consumer preferences and wine marketing techniques. The state of California is well known for the production of quality wine and as such accounts for nearly 90% of the total value of wine produced in the country (Goodhue, Green, Heien & Martin, 2008). The US market for wine has also been expanding consistently over the past few decades giving rise to the growth of small wineries which sell products directly to the consumer. This paper seeks to describe some of the most significant changes that have taken place in wine production in the new and old world over the past three to four decades.

Changes in Wine Production in the Old World

The New World prefers a style of wine making which endeavors to ensure consistency in taste from one vintage year to another, higher alcohol content levels between 13% and 14% as well as fresh and fruity tastes (Cholette, Castaldin & Fredrick, 2005). It is common to find that wineries in the New World own vineyards or in some cases tend to manifest good control over contracted vineyards.

One of the most important changes that have taken place in grape growing in the New World is that vines are planted close to each other. Pruning as well as fruit is also mechanized means while wineries employ technological innovations and advances in wine production (Cholette, Castaldin & Fredrick, 2005). Vineyards in the New World also tend to grow a select variety of grapes for wine production. As such, yields are higher among the New World countries compared to yields realized in the Old World.

In France, Spain and Italy also referred to as Old World Europe, wine production is largely undertaken by cooperatives. There are numerous small scale farmers who team up to form cooperatives to run wineries where locally harvested grapes are processed into wine (Cholette, Castaldin & Fredrick, 2005). It is therefore common to find that wine produced in the Old World is labeled after regions of production. The wine produced is also made from different grape varieties thus quality and taste is rarely consistent.

Changes in Wine Production in the Old World

To ensure global dominance, the wine industry in the Old World is protected by through subsidies financed by the European Union. The Old World is renowned for its overproduction of rather inferior table wine (Giuliani, Morrison & Rabellotti, 2011). The wine produced is therefore largely reprocessed to form industrial alcohol. In an effort to cut production of substandard wines, the EU has opted to offer up to 2.4 billion Euros in compensation awards to have 8million acres of vineyards uprooted (Giuliani, Morrison & Rabellotti, 2011). More so, competition from New World wineries has led the EU to relax wine industry regulations and more so, encouraging its wineries to employ wine production techniques developed in the New World.

Some of the historical wine producing regions have also opted to adopt wine production techniques that are dependent on a select grape variety. Simplified labeling techniques are being adopted so as to appeal to consumers used to the New World labels (Giuliani, Morrison & Rabellotti, 2011). It is important to note that some of the Old World producing countries such as France suffered a decrease in the global wine market share due to a stronger Euro as well as boycotts for denouncing the US Iraq War.

Changes in wine production in the New World

The New World grape producing regions are generally warmer in comparison to the Old World. As such, grape ripening in more pronounced leading to higher sugar levels which allow for higher alcohol contents (Chiffoleau, Laporte & Touzard, 2006). The New World thus produces wine that is lower on acidity, fuller bodied, with distinct fruit tones. Over the past three to four decades, the New World has driven the so called quality revolution in wine production enabled by multiple innovations (Cholette, Castaldin & Fredrick, 2005). One of the more profound innovations has been in wine marketing.

The technical features of wine produced such as packaging, alcohol content and color are employed to appeal to consumer preferences. Other features include, controlling production volumes thus affecting price to invoke economic variables, the development of a market institutional structure as well as specific rationale frameworks (Cholette, Castaldin & Fredrick, 2005). The New World has benefited greatly from the economic growth of countries like India and China. More so, the world has seen some good degree of economic development over the past few decades. This has led to an expansion of international wine markets enabling wine production in New World countries to thrive.


As this paper has provided, the wine industry has benefitted significantly from the development of the wine industry in New World countries. As such, the New World has employed technological advances as well as innovative marketing strategies to capture a growing portion of the global wine market. On the other hand, the Old World has been grappling with external industry disruptions though it’s over reliance on traditional techniques has also cost it its global market share. To remain competitive, the Old World has sought to adopt the grape vine growing, harvesting, production and marketing techniques employed in the New World.




Giuliani, E., Morrison, A., & Rabellotti, R. (Eds.). (2011). Innovation and technological catch-up: The changing geography of wine production. Edward Elgar Publishing.

Goodhue, R., Green, R., Heien, D. & Martin, P. (2008). California wine industry evolving to compete in 21st century. Cal Ag 62(1):12-18. Retrieved from

Boulton, R. B., Singleton, V. L., Bisson, L. F., & Kunkee, R. E. (2013). Principles and practices of winemaking. Springer Science & Business Media.

Cholette, S., Castaldin, R. M. & Fredrick, A. (2005). The Globalization of the Wine Industry: Implications for Old and New World Producers. Retrieved from

Chiffoleau, Y., Laporte, J. P. & Touzard, J.M. (2006). Tradition and Modernity in the New New World of Wine: Market innovation in Languedoc AOC wines. 3rd International Wine Business Research Conference, Montpellier, 6-7-8 July, 2006. Retrieved from

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