Then and now: The world’s most popular grape varieties

Posted on 20th January, by Wine Cellar in Blog, Wine Knowledge. No Comments

Cab Sav

New research released by the University of Adelaide shows how drastically consumer preferences and wine grape plantings have changed in the last 20 years. Whereas Airen, Grenache and Rkatsiteli topped the list of the world’s most widely planted varieties two decades ago, they have since been superseded by Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, with other international varieties also making their way into the top ten. Tempranillo is reportedly the fastest-expanding variety in the world, accounting for 20% of Spain’s area under vine in 2010, up from 5% in 1990.

The most planted varieties in 1990

1. Airen
2. Garnacha Tinta
3. Rkatsiteli
4. Sultaniye
5. Trebbiano Toscana
6. Mazuelo
7. Merlot
8. Cabernet Sauvignon
9. Monastrell
10. Bobal

The most planted varieties in 2010

1. Cabernet Sauvignon
2. Merlot
3. Airen
4. Tempranillo
5. Chardonnay
6. Syrah
7. Garnacha Tinta
8. Sauvignon Blanc
9. Trebbiano Toscano
10. Pinot Noir

According to the university’s researchers, these changes are largely the result of new consumption preferences, climate change and technological advances. Read more on

Leave a Reply

What's new

Here are the stories that are making the news this week. Use the top menu to see videos, tastings and our most recent newsletters.

Finest wines in the Masai Mara with Daryl Balfour and Wine Cellar
Wine Cellar and award-winning wildlife photographers Daryl and Sharna Balfour have joined forces to offer Africa’s most exclusive luxury wine safari. The Wine Cellar...
Wine Cellar marketing internship
Wine Cellar is one of South Africa’s foremost fine wine merchants. Established in 2000, we specialise in premium local and imported wines, as well...
5 things you need to know about the 100-point scale [video]
Is the 100-point scale absurd? And to what extent do context and prejudice affect critics’ scores? UK wine writer Jamie Goode discusses this and...
Mullineux Syrah 2012 – the best yet
What more can be said about husband-and-wife team Chris and Andrea Mullineux? Since their maiden 2008 vintage, the Platter Winery of the Year Mullineuxs have produced...
Fruit and flower power – biodynamic nonsense?
If supporters of biodynamics are to be believed, your wine drinking experience is greatly influenced by the rhythms of the moon and cosmos. Granted,...
New tastings in Joburg and Cape Town: Young Guns 4, Ultra-Premium SA & more
If you’re a Wine Cellar newsletter subscriber, you will have been the first to hear about the spectacular new tastings we’ve added to our...
What makes or breaks a Chenin Blanc?
How is it that SA’s most widely planted wine grape is capable of expressing such a range of flavours? A new Stellenbosch University research...