Grape growing regions of the world
World wine production
The main wine producing countries are France, Italy and Spain, and they have well established industries. Quality denominations in these regions date back many years and are determined by area. Grapes for wine-making have been selected over centuries, driven by a desire to improve wines to satisfy knowledgeable consumers. Hence it is not surprising that many of the grapes now successfully established in new wine regions in the New World are exported mainly from France and, to a lesser extent, from Germany. Interestingly, not infrequently the grapes traditionally grown in the cooler wine regions of France thrive best in cooler regions elsewhere in the world, although the sensory properties of the wines can be quite different. An example is the successful Sauvignon Blanc wine production in New Zealand, a relatively cool wine region.
However, as can be seen from Table 2.7 the increases in wine production in 2006 since 1996-2000 in some of the New World countries, such as Australia, Chile and New Zealand, are enormous, as are their increases in exports. This no doubt reflects their successful application of research information and technology in both viticulture and wine-making techniques. These countries have no long established histories and traditions in their wine industry, hence they may feel free to experiment in their viticulture and wine-making. In particular Australia has moved traditional thinking about viticulture and wine-making forward. Although their wine industry is not large, their influence is probably world-wide. For example, the fact that grapes grown in hot, dry areas produce top quality white wines contradicts the traditional view on climatic requirements for viticulture and shows that irrigation can have a positive effect on wine quality.
Styles of wine produced have adapted with the changes in fashion, for example, heavily oaked, buttery Chardonnay wines from California have virtually disappeared and have been replaced by lighter, fruity Chardonnay wines. Market research and good marketing presumably helps to ensure the wine industry adapts their products to meet the consumer preferences and demands.
|Table 1 Wine production and export data in 2006, with calculated increases in production and export since 1996-2000. Only countries with a significant export have been listed.
The United States is the fourth biggest producer, with many prestigious wineries in California, especially the Napa and Sonoma valleys. However, most of these wines are consumed within the USA and exports tend to come from the large Central Valley. Australia is at the leading edge of technology in winemaking and successfully implements know-how and new technology. The wine industry in South Africa dates from the mid seventeenth century and after the abolition of apartheid the export markets opened, giving impetus to the wine industry. Wines continue to improve and are good value. New Zealand is only a small producer, producing less than 1% of the world wine production. However, current popularity keeps the wine prices high. Detailed accounts on wine-making regions can be found in many popular wine books and websites.
Many books on wines are devoted to the grape growing and wine production regions of the world in greater or lesser detail, together with assessments of the wines produced in the numerous sub-areas, districts or groups of vineyards, e.g. Châteaux in Bordeaux, France.
|Region||Best known wine types/red winesa||Grape varieties used|
|Haut-Medoc||Haut-Médoc, AC||Cabernet Sauvignon|
|(High quality clarets)||e.g. Château Cantemerle||Cabernet Sauvignon|
|Pauillac, AC||blended with|
|e.g. Château Lafite –||Cabernet Franc and|
|Rothschild, Latour and||Merlot|
|(all 1st growth)a;|
|e.g. Château Fourcas Holsten|
|e.g. Château Margaux|
|St Julien, AC|
|e.g. Château Léoville-Barton|
|Bourg and Blaye||Côtes de Bourg, AC||Merlot, also blended with Malbec|
|Graves||Graves, AC||Cabernet Sauvignon|
|Pessac-Léogman, AC||and Merlot|
|e.g. Château Haut-Brion|
|St-Emilion, Pomerol,||Pomerol, AC||Merlot dominant|
|Fronsac||e.g. Château Pétrus||Merlot/Cabernet|
|St Emilion, AC||Franc/Malbec/|
|e.g. Château Ausone||Cabernet Sauvignon|
|Fronsac, AC||Cabernet Franc|
|Castillon Côtes de Bordeaux, AC|
|Graves-Sauternes||Barsac, AC (sweet)||Sauvignon Blanc/|
|Dry, aged||Sémillon, blended with|
|e.g. Château Yquem||Blanc|
|Entre-Deux-Mers||Entre-Deux-Mers, AC Premiôres Cètes de Bordeaux,|
|aGrowth = cru classé, 1855 classification.|
|Region||Best known wine types/red wines||Main grape varieties used|
|Côte de Beaune||Aloxe-Corton, AC||Pinot Noir|
|Beaune, AC Premier Crua||(most red Burgundy by|
|Chassagne-Montrachet||law has 100% of this|
|Volnay AC||Pinot Gris|
|Premier Crua||Pinot Liebault|
|Côte de Nuits||Chambertin, AC||Pinot Noir|
|Gevrey Chambertin, AC|
|Côte d’Or||Bourgogne Rouge AC|
|Côte Chalonaise||Bourgogne Passe-Tout-Grains, AC||Gamay, 1/3 Pinot Noir|
|Côte de Beaune||Corton Charlemagne AC||Chardonnay|
|Grand Crua||(a little Pinot Noir)|
|Le Montrachet, AC||Chardonnay|
|Côte de Nuits||Musigny, AC||Chardonnay|
|Côte Chalonnaise||Bouzeron AC||Aligoté|
|Chablis||Chablis AC Grand Cru AC and||Chardonnay (100% use)|
|Premier Crua, AC|
|Beaujolais||Beaujolais Blanc AC||Chardonnay|
Comments about the flavour of particular wines from wine writers and wine merchants are dealing often with wines made from blends of grapes and information about blends is not usually labelled. The flavour of the wines will depend upon the vintage year, which is being tasted, in addition to many other factors (age of wine, vinification method, maturation procedure, etc.).
The flavour characteristics of wines from single varieties are of the most interest to the scientist and chemist, since they can be related to the chemical composition of the grapes. Undoubtedly the grape variety has the greatest influence on wine flavour, but the conditions of vinification, including the type of yeast used, will also determine the wine flavour, especially by the formation and modification of the volatile components. Some important factors are agronomic, particularly the yield per vine. It will be evident that certain taste characteristics of the grapes, such as acidity and sweetness, will be determined by the level of maturity at which the grapes are harvested (see above), though the specification for vinification will nearly always be ‘ripe’ and ‘healthy’ grapes. Ripeness is usually defined in terms of concentrations of sugar and acid. As grapes ripen, they lose acid and gain sugar. The grapes are ideally picked when they have reached sufficient sugar to give about 11% alcohol while still having sufficient acidity to help to preserve the wine and to give an acid taste. Often sugar/acid ratios are used, but their use is probably very area specific. Little information is known about the flavour of the wine in relation to grape ripeness. The sugar and acid content of the grape at harvest will depend on grape variety and climate.
Region of production: Épernay area
Chardonnay Pinot Noir Pinot Meunier
Non-vintage: Basic blend (80% of area output)
Typically 3 yrs old.
e.g. from Lanson, Père & Fils, Mercier, Pol Roger, Veuve Clciquot – Ponsardin.
Vintage: Wine of grapes of a particular year, released typically at 6 yrs.
e.g. from Pol Roger, Louis Roederer.
Prestige de Luxe: Top quality, vintage dated. Highly priced. e.g. Bollinger (R.D), Charles Heidsieck (Collection), Krug (Grande Cuvée), Laurent-Perrier (Grand Siècle), Taittinger (Comtes de Champagne),Moët et Chandon (Dom Perignon). Blanc de Blancs: Made exclusively from Chardonnay grapes. Buyer’s Own brand: BOB. Blended to buyer’s specification/ cost.
e.g. Tesco, Waitrose, Sainsbury.
|Absolutely dry Very dry Medium dry Medium sweet Sweet
Comes from a co-operative.
Non-dosage: No added sugar and therefore bone-dry.
Label designations (Two letter code at bottom)
Brut Zero Brut Sec
|CM (co-operative- manipulant)
MA (marque d’achéteur) NM (négociant-manipulant)
Comes from a merchant- handler.
Wine ‘champenized’ by the Champagne house, whose label is used.
Comes from a grower who makes his own wine, e.g. Michel Gonet, Albert Le Brun. Comes from a grower selling wine made by a co-operative.
|Region||Best known wine types (white)||Main grape varieties|
|Sancerre AC Pouilly-Fumé, AC Anjou Blanc Sec, AC Touraine, AC Muscadet AC||Sauvignon Blanc Sauvignon Blanc Chenin Blanc
+ Chardonnay. Sauvignon Blanc Melon de Bourgogne
|Best known wine types (red)|
|Sancerre Rouge, AC Touraine, AC
Chinon, Saumur-Champigny, AC Saumur – Champigny AC
Variety of grapes Cabernet Franc Cabernet Franc
| Wines in France: area/type – south western.
|Region||Best known wine types (red)||A
Main grape varieties
|Northern Rhone||Côte-Rôtie, AC Crozes-Hermitage, AC Hermitage, AC||Syrah/Viognier (white) Syrah|
|Best known wine types (white)|
Clairette de Die, AC (sparkling) Hermitage, AC
Clairette, Muscat Marsanne, Roussanne
|Best known wine types (red)|
Côtes du Rhône, AC Lirac, AC
Tavel, AC (rosé wine)
|Some 13 different varieties allowed (mainly Grenache, Mourvèdre, Syrah)
Grenache, Cinsau(l)t and others Grenache
| Wines in France: area/type – south east.