Which countries plant most acres of grapevines, produce the most wine, and harvest the most grapes? Prepare for surprises.
First, how you measure matters. Ranked by acres planted in wine grapes, Spain comfortably leads. Ranked by tons of wine grapes produced, France leads with Italy close behind.
Spain’s most-planted grape, Airén, needs space, thus Spain has the most acres, and—trivia time—Airén is the world’s most planted wine grape by acreage. Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot enjoy higher yields per acre, thus France leads in tonnage harvested.
France leads in wine production with 57 million hectoliters (100 liters), closely followed by Italy. The two countries combined account for 40 percent of world wine production.
Spain is third with 35 million hectoliters (12 percent of world production), followed by the United States (28 million hectoliters), Argentina (15 million hectoliters) and Australia (14 million hectoliters).
China is seventh with 12 million hectoliters (yes, China—soon to be world’s top wine consuming country); Germany makes almost as much wine as China. South Africa and Chile round out the top 10.
Table grapes produce “who knew?” moments. China is the table grape king; Turkey is second. Turkey? Few Turkish grapes become wine, but Turkey has fourth most grapevine acreage in the world. Sultana—known as Thompson seedless in U.S.—is world’s most planted table grape (and probably originated in Turkey).
Best month to buy U.S. table grapes? August, when supply is greatest.
Who knew all this grape trivia? Now, you do.
• Condesa Real Premium Blend by Conde de Velázquez. Rare, delicious Cab, Syrah, Merlot blend; only 350 cases produced; available in San Angelo because local Melon brothers are sole U.S. importers; Chile. $24
• Sebeka Chardonnay. Citrus, apples, peaches, vanilla; South Africa. $9
• Campus Stella Albarino. Pears, almonds, vanilla; Spanish white. $16