New Book - Which Winegrape Varieties are Grown Where - £45 or Free?

Spanish red grape Tempranillo is the most-expanded variety since 2000.

This is not due to Tempranillo’s ‘internationalisation’, but rather that it has replaced Airén* as Spain’s most planted variety. 80% of its plantings remain in its motherland.

Between 2000 and 2016, plantings of Tempranillo in Spain rose by 114,000ha while Airén declined by 184,000ha.

This fact comes from a new version of the book Which Winegrape Varieties are Grown Where which is a snip at £45 from Amazon if you want it printed, or for the rounded figure of £0.00 for the PDF which is downloadable for free from Which Winegrape Varieties are Grown Where? | University of Adelaide Press | University of Adelaide.

*I don’t know if it still is, but Airén is or was the world’s most planted wine grape variety, and yet few wine drinkers have heard of it or drunk it. I once had an Airén lend from Morrisons (can’t remember what the other grape was.

Source of above (edited) quote is here


I thought Airen was still more planted but lot more Tempranillo is made into wine. Airen mostly goes into Brandy and for fortifying sherry, port and madeira.

It’s very interesting that almost all of the most decreased grapes are Spanish. This is a shame as regional Spain should be following regional Italy and getting more interesting, not less!


Airen was the most widely planted but now it is Cabernet Sauvignon according to When I did WSET it was airen.

Is it most planted in terms of vine numbers, or in terms of acreage? The low density planting in La Mancha - where a lot of it is planted - means that (according to Oz Clarke, at least): “the region has long held the title of largest area planted to wine variety in the world”.


My SWS Textbook (citing OIV in 2017) has Airen at 217,000 Ha and Tempranillo at 203,000 Ha along with a schpiel about how Airen is both the most planted and most maligned.

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Now that is the ultimate geeks’ wine bible. A terrifying amount of data in those 750 pages. I don’t think I’ll be emailing it to my kindle for the journey home - I need to stay awake and not miss my stop.

However, I should stop you all there to ask whether you were aware that 90% of the world’s planted area of Aligote is located in 4 eastern European countries (Moldova, Russia, Romania & Ukraine). Should really stop there, I’ve already got too much to finish before I’m allowed home.


And you can download the datasets. My life may be actually over!


I cannot see the relevant article on the link.

I wonder if the article said that Cabernet Sauvignon is the most planted black variety?

On page 44 of he report I link to, Airen still is the most planted variety, but Cabernet Sauvignon overtook Grenache in 2016 as the most planted black variety.

I accept the comments about Airen being used for brandy, but first it must be made into wine because brandy is distilled wine (whereas whisk(e)y is distilled beer.

Correction Update: The chart is on page 22 and I misread it. Cab Sauv is now the most planted grape variety . I was wrong, apologies.

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On the subject of Tempranillo, ISTR reading (no idea where) that it’s international popularity (and association with Rioja therein) is leading to the grubbing up of other other supporting varieties in the region, pushing the other (considered lesser) varieties to the fringes and threatening an almost mono-varietal Rioja.

Considering the interest that is added with the likes of Garnacha to Ardanza, Graciano to 904, and Mazuelo to a particular favourite of mine Vina Albina, I think that would be a real shame.


Agreed! I’ve recently been making a concerted effort to drink more of those as varietals as well. I’ve not really come across a Mazuelo I’ve taken to, but Garnacha and Graciano are both becoming mainstays.

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Is that really what it says? Figure 6 in the huge report seems to confirm that Cabernet Sauvignon is the most widely planted in 2016 (Airen was in the earlier dataset). Please accept my apologies if I got that wrong.

That’s strange… try here The Top Ten Grape Varieties In The World

No. You are correct, I misread it. Yet again I learn not to hurry a reply before doing something else.

The heading lists the years with 2016 first, but the graph underneath has 2016 last.
Also, fig 6 is on page 22 not 44.

My apologies, one and all.

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Thank you. The link I was referring to was to, not to the article.
BTW the authors of the article are a Danish couple that run wine tours, specialising in Bordeaux.

Useful summary here:

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The survey, as I read it (but I have been massively wrong already in this thread) is on area rather than number of vines…

Katie Jones at Domain Jones (TWS lists some of her wines) walked though her 110 year old Grenache vineyard in a recent Zoom call, and these the vines were really well spread out, whereas it’s now the fashion to plant vines very closely together. So the amount of vines per hectare varies greatly.

Then there’s the matter of how much wine is produced per hectare; is there a green harvest, are the amount of bunches restricted?

Measuring hectares is easiest. But I assume the authors of this study can only go on the figures supplied by the authorities in each country and I imagine that is the area devoted to vines.

Measuring hecatares is not only easy, but tends to give more impressive statistics for Spanish grapes, whose vines are often planted at very low density.

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