At May’s MW symposium in Florence grape geneticist José Vouillamoz revealed which grapes and countries were growing fastest in terms of plantings worldwide – and the leaders weren’t what people expected.
Plantings of Tempranillo have increased more than any other grape during 2000-2010
Having considered the world’s most planted varieties first, Vouillamoz said that two white grapes, Spain’s Airen and Eastern Europe’s Rkatsiteli, were once the biggest in terms of global vineyard hectarage, but had since fallen.
Nevertheless, in 2010, Airen was still the world’s third most planted grape, behind Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, but ahead of Tempranillo, according to Vouillamoz.
However, when considering growth rates, specifically the fastest increase in plantings over the last decade, that order was reversed.
From 2000-2010 he said that the greatest growth had come from Tempranillo, then Syrah, and followed by Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot.
“Cabernet Sauvignon is grown everywhere, so why not try Tempranillo,” he said, offering a possible explanation for the surge in plantings for this grape, which originates from Spain – where there is more than 200,000ha in the ground – although it is widely planted in Portugal, and increasingly in Australia too.
As for countries seeing a rapid growth in vineyard area, the greatest expansion can be found in China and India, according to Vouillamoz.
However, looking ahead, he said that by 2050 India will have surpassed China in plantings, while noting that the country’s growing population “will drink wine”.
During the same symposium, Vouillamoz also mentioned a series of varieties, which he suggested could become the flagship grapes of the future.
Among these were a native Armenian red and a white variety from the Peloponnese – and the full list can be viewed here.