Small Sips #12: world’s most-planted wine grapes

Committed wine drinkers could rattle these off in their sleep but, anyway, here are the world’s top 10 most-planted wine grapes: 1.Cabernet Sauvignon; 2.Merlot; 3.Airén (used for Spanish brandy); 4.Tempranillo; 5.Chardonnay; 6.Shiraz; 7.Grenache; 8.Sauvignon Blanc; 9.Trebbiano/Ugni Blanc (used for Cognac); 10.Pinot Noir.

A key trend is that Tempranillo has been the fastest-growing variety since the turn of the century, adding 150,000 hectares and in the process shooting from 5% to 20% of the Spanish vineyard area. Another is that the wine world has been losing diversity: 35 varieties accounted for 59% of production in 2000, but 66% in 2010.

*Should we put in an updated statistic here?

The world’s most-planted grape, generally, is the familiar Thompson Seedless. Employed mostly for table grapes and raisins,10-30% percent of Thompson crushed in the New World manages to find its way into what must be some pretty terrifying wines.

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