The New World is one of the names used for the continents of North and South America collectively, in use since the 16th century. The continents were new to the Europeans, who knew the world consisting only of Europe, Asia, and Africa (the Old World).
The New World should be distinguished from the Modern World.
Nowadays, the term is generally used:
- in a historical context when talking about the European discovery of the Americas, as in discussions of Spanish exploration, Christopher Columbus, et cetera.
- in describing groups of animals within biology: Old World organisms are those found in Africa, Eurasia and Australasia, while New World organisms are those found in the Americas.
- in relation to wine:
- to describe any wine produced outside the traditional wine-growing areas of Europe and North Africa, particularly wines from North and South America, South Africa, and Australasia.
- to describe a style of wine popularized by New World producers. Stereotypically produced in California and South-Eastern Australia, and described by grape variety rather than vineyard, these wines are riper, darker in color, fuller-bodied, smoother, fruitier and more alcoholic than traditional European products. The term has come to describe a wine with some or all of these characteristics produced in any wine region. Conversely, a wine produced in the New World might be considered Old World in style.
See also: New World Symphony