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; 2/Merlot; 3/Airén (used for Spanish brandy); 4/Tempranillo; 5/Chardonnay; 6/Shiraz; 7/Grenache; 8/Sauvignon; 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.
The world’s most-planted grape, generally, is the familiar Thompson Seedless. Employed mostly for table grapes and raisins, ten-to-thirty percent of Thompson crushed in the New World manages to find its way into what must be some pretty terrifying wines.