Grape variety

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Grapes of the white wine variety Gutedel (Chasselas)
Cabernet Sauvignon grape variety

The type of plant from whose fruits wine is made is the noble grapevine ( Vitis vinifera ). Like most cultivated plants , it comes in different varieties , which are known as grape varieties in viticulture . Taste, structure and other properties of a wine such as shelf life and development potential depend on the grape variety, but they are also influenced by the location ( soil properties and climate ), the weather and the development of the vintner .

The grape variety is also called ampelography . It used to have to be limited to the detailed description of the individual varieties. Traditional descriptive features are the shoot tip (shape, hairiness ), the young leaf, the adult leaf ( leaf blade , petiole, perforation of the leaf margin, etc.), grape size and shape , berry size and shape and berry color. Today the ampelographers also deal with the clarification of the relationships between grape varieties on the basis of DNA analyzes .

Since about 5000 BC 8,000 to 10,000 grape varieties were created through breeding from wild vines. Of these, around 2,500 are approved for wine production in the various countries. Many are seldom grown today, and only a few hundred grape varieties are important, even less of national importance.

The individual grape varieties are recorded in a separate list of grape varieties .


Classification according to purpose

When it comes to grapes, a distinction is made between wine and table grapes and grapes for raisin production . There are also ornamental grapes that are not suitable for human consumption.

For winemaking, a distinction is made between red wine and white wine types . Each grape variety has characteristic aromas . That is why two wines, even if they were made in places thousands of kilometers apart, have a great deal in common, provided they are made from the same grape. Not all wines are based on only one type of grape, for example , red Bordeaux usually represents a blend of at least three. In addition, red grapes are not necessarily only used to make red wine, but also white wine, namely the Blanc de Noirs . With many red grape varieties, the pulp is not red, but the red color is only in the skin. Also rose wine comes from red grapes.

Classification according to the time of maturity

Whether a grape variety is suitable for a certain location essentially depends on the time of ripening. From today's perspective, the time of ripening is characterized by an optimal ratio of sugar to acid . Each grape variety can be assigned a minimum period between flowering and maturity. This time is relatively short for early-ripening varieties, and much longer for late-ripening varieties. Early-ripening varieties are used in growing areas to the north. However, these varieties would turn out to be completely inharmonious in southern cultivation areas, as although the sugar content is high enough with sufficient sunshine, other ingredients that are absorbed through the roots cannot be sufficiently enriched. Late-ripening varieties are used here.

Since the terms early and late ripening were used inconsistently in the growing areas, the French Victor Pulliat presented a uniform classification at the end of the 19th century . As a reference grape variety , he took the Gutedel, which ripened very early, and compared other grape varieties with this variety. The must weight was introduced as a yardstick . The basis was the collection of grape varieties as they were created at important scientific institutes. Pulliat chose a scale with five categories:

  • The early ripening varieties ( French : cépages précoces ) ripen before the Gutedel.
  • The varieties of the first ripening period (French: cépages de première époque ) ripen almost at the same time as the Gutedel, but no later than 10 to 12 days later. These include grape varieties such as Chardonnay, Pinot Gris, Pinot Noir and Gamay
  • The varieties of the second ripening period (French: cépages de deuxième époque ) ripen for at least about 2 weeks, but no later than 20 to 22 days afterwards. These include grape varieties such as Chenin, Sauvignon, Sémillon, Riesling, Syrah, Cabernet Franc and Merlot.
  • The varieties of the third ripening period (French: cépages de troisième époque ) ripen for at least 3 weeks, but no later than 30 to 35 days afterwards. These include grape varieties such as Grenache and Cabernet Sauvignon.
  • The varieties of the fourth ripening period (French: cépages de quatrième époque ) ripen at least about 4 weeks after the Gutedel.

Each individual period can sometimes be divided into three. In this case, for example, the first ripening period is referred to as the early, middle or late first ripening period. Since each individual ripening period is around a week long, the varieties can be classified in steps of 2 to 3 days.

Newer evaluation models were presented by the Americans Winkler and Amerine from the University of California at Davis. They looked at the heat sums of different growing areas and combined minimum heat sums with the possibility of growing certain grape varieties. According to Winkler, the total heat is the sum of the daily mean temperatures above 10 ° C.

Classification according to resistance

For organic viticulture and integrated viticulture, the division into fungus-resistant and insufficiently fungus-resistant varieties is important. However, this is always only a partial resistance. Since the 1960s u. a. the red wine varieties Regent and Cabernet Cortis as well as the white wine variety Johanniter specially bred for resistance to fungi. The abbreviation " PIWI " is sometimes used for such varieties, but they are also referred to as resistant varieties.

The resistance of these PIWI varieties is always only a higher resistance to an infection of a specific fungal disease and never to all known fungal diseases in the vine. Most often the PIWI varieties show a more or less higher resistance to downy mildew and oidium . The use of pesticides can therefore be reduced against these fungal diseases. With the use of these pesticides, other fungal diseases such as red burner and especially black rot of the vine are also recorded. If the use of these pesticides is reduced, the fungal diseases mentioned can increase. An advantage can therefore also become a disadvantage. These peculiarities are mostly known for the PIWI varieties. Recently, multi-resistant varieties have also been bred.

Other fungus-resistant grape varieties that were cultivated in Rhineland-Palatinate in 2011 on a total of 1768 hectares (= 2.8% of the planted vineyards) are Phoenix , Cabernet Blanc , Solaris , Saphira , Pinotin , Cabernet Cortis , Cabertin , Orion , Muscaris , Prinzipal , Staufer , Helois , Bronner , Bolero , Sirius , Villaris , Prior and Souvignier gris .

Classification according to relationship

Since DNA analysis has become possible, grape varieties can also be grouped according to their genetic relationship.

Family tree of grapevines

Grape variety mirror

A grape variety index is the listing of all cultivated grape varieties of a wine-growing country, a wine-growing region or a winery , whereby the vineyards for the individual varieties are usually given.

Ranking list of grapevines (status: 2000)

The following ranking refers to the global viticulture. The worldwide wine-growing area is (as of 2000) about 7.9 million hectares, which corresponds to 79,000 km². Almost 5 million hectares (50,000 km²) of this are in Europe.

It is difficult to rank the most cultivated grape varieties. The figures are based on statistics from different years and were collected using different methods. For example, some varieties are grouped together in some countries and not in others. Individual varieties are also promoted or withdrawn based on preferences or legal requirements. For this reason, caution should be exercised when making such a comparison and it is not possible to create an unreservedly valid list.


  • Use: Use as WW = white wine variety, RW = red wine variety. The lines in the table are highlighted accordingly.
  • Synonyms: Selection of synonyms for the most common name.
  • Main growing countries : the countries with the largest vineyards.
  • Year: year of data collection.
Area (ha) Grape variety image Use Synonyms Main growing countries year
440,000 Sultana Thompson seedless grapes.JPG WW Thompson Seedless, İzmir üzümü Turkey, USA, Iran, Greece, Afghanistan, Chile, Australia, Syria, South Africa, China, Iraq, India, Eastern Europe, Algeria ?
308,000 Airén WW Lairén, Aidé, Valdepeñas, Manchega Spain, Morocco 2005
250,000 Carignan RW Cariñena, Mazuela France, Spain 1999
240,000 Grenache noir Grenache noir grapes.jpg RW Garnacha tinta, Cannonau Spain, USA, Argentina, France, Italy, Algeria, Morocco, Turkey 1999
223.200 Trebbiano + variations Ugniblanc.JPG WW Ugni Blanc France, Italy 1999
200,000 Merlot Merlot Grape.jpg RW Merlot noir France, Italy, Switzerland, Chile 2004
200,000 Cabernet Sauvignon Cabernet Sauvignon Gaillac.jpg RW Bordeaux, Sauvignon Rouge France, Italy, Chile, Switzerland 2004
175,000 Chardonnay WW Arnoison, Beaunois France, USA, Germany, Chile, Austria, Hungary 2000
130,000 Syrah RW Shiraz, Hermitage France, Spain, Switzerland, Australia, South Africa, Chile 2002
125,000 Tempranillo RW Tinta Roriz, Cencibel, Aragonés, Tinta del Pais, Tinta de Toro, Ull de Llebre Spain, Portugal 2005
120,000 Regina  WW Regina Bianca, Dattier de Beyrouth Italy, Turkey 2000
96,000 Sangiovese RW Brunello, Nielluccio Italy, France 1999
92,630 Bobal RW Bobos, Espagnol Spain 2000
85,000 Monastrell + Mourvèdre  RW Moristel, Mataro Spain, France 1999
70,000 Isabella RW Frutilla, Odessa Brazil, Georgia ?
60,000 Catarratto bianco comune WW - Italy ?
60,000 Pinot noir RW Spätburgunder, Blauer Burgunder, of which clone : Velvet red (230 ha) France, Switzerland, Germany, Austria 1999
60,000 Riesling WW Rhine Riesling, Petit Rhin Germany, France, Australia, Austria 1999
54,000 Chenin blanc WW Pineau de la Loire, Steen South Africa, France 1999
52,000 País RW Misión, mission Chile, Mexico 1999
51,700 Pardillo WW Cayatano, Pardilla Spain 2000
50,000 Muscat Alexandria WW Muscat d'Alexandrie, Zibibbo Morocco, Australia 1999
47,000 Macabeo WW Maccabeu, Viura Spain, France 1999
45,000 Cinsault RW Cinsaut, Otavianello France, Italy ?
45,000 Muscat blanc à petits grains WW Yellow muscatel, Moscato bianco France, Bulgaria 1999
45,000 Sauvignon blanc WW Blanc fumé, fumé blanc France, Switzerland, Chile 1998
45,000 Rivaner WW Müller-Thurgau (also Riesling x Silvaner in Switzerland) Germany, Austria, Switzerland 1999
44,000 Cabernet franc RW Bouchet, Cabernet Frank France, Italy ?
40,000 Rkatsiteli  WW Rkaziteli, Baiyu Georgia, China 1999
40,000 Gamay RW Gamay noir à jus blanc, Bourguignon noir France, Switzerland ?
38,000 Cereza RW Cereza italiana Argentina ?
35,000 Criolla grande RW Criolla, Criolla Sanjuanina Argentina ?
35,000 Welschriesling WW Riesling italico, Olaszrizling Romania, Austria, Hungary 1999
35,000 Palomino WW Listán blanco, Perrum Spain, Mexico 1999
35,000 Gutedel WW Chasselas, Fendant , Gelber Moster, Chaslie Romania, Hungary, Germany, Switzerland 1999
34,000 Semillon WW Green Grape, Hunter River Riesling France, Switzerland, Chile ?
30,000 Kadarka RW Blue Hungarian, Gamza Hungary, Serbia 1999
30,000 Alicante Bouschet RW Alicante-Henri_Bouschet, Alicante nero France, Algeria 1999
30,000 Concord RW Dalmadin, Furmin noir USA, Canada 2000
29,600 Colombard WW French Colombard, Colombar USA, South Africa 2002
28,000 Cardinal RW Apostoliatiko, Rannii Carabournu Spain, Romania 2000
25,000 Zinfandel RW Primitivo USA, Mexico, Italy 2002
23,600 Fernão Pires WW Maria Gomes, Gaeiro Portugal, South Africa 1999
23,000 Aligoté WW Alligotay, Blanc de Troyes France, Switzerland 1999
21,000 Pedro Ximénez  WW PX, Pedro Jimenez Spain, Australia 2000
20,500 Pedro Giménez  WW - Argentina 2000
20,000 Muscat de Hamburg WW Muscat Hamburg, Black Hamburg France, Greece 1999
34,000 Malbec RW Pressac, Côt noir Argentina, France, Chile 2008
17,500 Green Valtellina WW GV, Weißgipfler Austria, Hungary 2002
17,000 Pinot Blanc WW Pinot blanc, White Klevener Italy, Germany, Austria ?
15,000 Catarratto bianco lucido WW - Italy ?
15,000 Pinot Gris WW Pinot gris, Pinot grigio, Ruländer Germany, Romania, Italy ?
15,000 Aramon noir RW Piss-Vin, Ugni noir France, Algeria 1999
15,000 Black Riesling RW Miller's vine, Pinot Meunier France, Germany 1999
15,000 Blue Portuguese RW Portugalské Modré, Oporto Kék Germany, Hungary, Austria 1999
15,000 Negroamaro RW Negro Amaro Italy 2005
13,050 Garganega WW Garganega Bianca, Garganega Biforcuta Italy 1998
13,000 Melon de Bourgogne WW Melon, Muscadet France, USA 1999
12,000 Silvaner WW Gamay Blanc, fly grape Germany, France, Austria 1999
11,400 Nero d'Avola RW Alabrese, Calabrese nero Italy 2005
11,300 Mencia RW Jaén du Dão, Loureiro Spain, Portugal ?
10,711 Chelva WW Gabriela, Guarena, Mantuo Spain 2000
10,700 Cayetana blanca WW Cayetana, Calegrano Spain ?
10,400 Parellada WW - Spain 2000
10,000 Xarel lo WW Xarello, Jaén Blanco Spain, Portugal 1999
8,667 Nuragus WW Abbondosa, Granazza Italy (Sardinia) 1999
8,000 Gewürztraminer WW Traminer, Roter Traminer, Gelber Traminer France, USA, Germany, Italy (South Tyrol), Austria 1998
6,500 Ruby Cabernet RW Argentina, USA, Chile, South Africa, Australia 2007
6,000 Nebbiolo RW Spanna, Chiavennasca Italy 2005
1,100 Neuburger WW - Austria 2006
1,100 Vernatsch RW Schiava, Trollinger Italy (South Tyrol), Germany (Württemberg) 2013

Ranking list of vineyards for various uses (as of 2015)

A grape variety survey by the OIV in 2015 resulted in the following information. For the Kyoho variety, the figures from China were estimated on the basis of press releases. 13 varieties represent approx. 33% of the world wine stock and 33 grape varieties 50% of the vineyard area.

Areas of the most common grape varieties worldwide
Vineyards in 1000 (ha) use
Kyoho 365 Table grape
Cabernet Sauvignon 340 Wine
Sultanina 300 Table grape, raisins and wine
Merlot 266 Wine
Tempranillo 231 Wine
Airén 218 Wine, brandy
Chardonnay 211 Wine
Syrah 190 Wine
Grenache Noir 163 Wine
Red Globe 160 Table grape
Sauvignon Blanc 121 Wine
Pinot noir 115 Wine
Trebbiano 111 Wine, brandy

See also


Web links

Wiktionary: grape variety  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations
Commons : Grape varieties  - collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. Duden online: Ampelography
  2. Into the climate change with “PIWI grape varieties” ,
  3. ^ Christian von Burg: Innovative winemakers: Cheers without pesticides. In: . November 22, 2018. Retrieved November 22, 2018 .
  4. Definition of the grape variety level at
  5. The figures for Carignan without Eastern Europe and Asia amount to 191,000 ha. With Eastern Europe and Asia the area increases up to 250,000 ha. In France alone there are 100,000 ha (in 2000). Depending on the statistics, either Carignan or Grenache noir are in third or fourth place in the table.
  6. For the Regina grape variety, the area data vary between 120,000 and 150,000 hectares.
  7. In 1998 DNA analyzes found that Monastrell is identical to Moristel, but not to Mourvèdre, as was long assumed. However, the statistics often only show the varieties together. However, Mourvèdre's share should be very small.
  8. In the case of Rkaziteli, some statistics assume a far greater distribution. In view of the decline in vineyards in the CIS, this seems unlikely.
  9. a b Pedro Ximénez and Pedro Giménez are usually listed as one species in the statistics. It is likely that they are identical, but Argentine ampelographers deny that they are identical.
  10. OIC Focus 2017 Vine Varieties Distribution In The World