Wine News & Entertainment

Top Wine Regions of The World

Each year we discover more countries producing wine. For instance, did you know there are vineyards in the Gobi Desert? It’s no doubt that up-and-coming wine regions are intriguing, but there are just 10 countries producing 80% of the wine on the planet. Let’s take a closer look at the top wine producing regions of the world.

Top Wine Regions of The World

The top 3 major wine regions of the world are France, Italy and Spain. They produce almost half of all the wine produced in the world. To help you wrap your brain around the sheer volume of wine they make:

That’s a lot of wine… olympic pool in Bejing.

The top 3 wine regions in the world make enough wine
to fill 5,127 olympic-sized swimming pools.

1 France

While France and Italy compete for the top wine production region of the world they are also reducing wine production every year. France has lowered production by 11% since 2007.

Major Grapes: Merlot, Grenache, Trebbiano Toscano, Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon, Carignan, Chardonnay, Cabernet Franc, Pinot Noir, Gamay, Sauvignon Blanc

2 Italy

Italy may be second to France, but there is a growing trend in both countries to remove vineyards. Italy has reduced their production by at least 7% since 2007.

Major Grapes Sangiovese, Montepulciano, Merlot, Trebbiano Toscano, Nero d’Avola, Barbera, Pinot Grigio, Prosecco

3 Spain

Spain is home to the largest vineyard acreage in the world. Despite this fact, Spain also has much lower wine yields than neighboring France and Italy resulting in less total wine.

Major Grapes: Tempranillo, Airén, Garnacha, Monastrell, Bobal

4 United States

90% of wine from the United States is from California. California is home to the world’s largest wine producer, Gallo, in Modesto, CA.

Major Grapes: Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Merlot, Pinot Noir, Zinfandel, Sauvignon Blanc

5 Argentina

Argentina continues to grow their wine production year after year resulting in the highest growth rate (8%) of the top 5 wine producers in the world. Argentina relies on wine exports.

Major Grapes: Malbec, Bonarda, Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon

6 Australia

Australia relies primarily on the wine export market. Since the US dollar has weakened, Australia is expanding their wine marketing in Hong Kong and Asia.

Major Grapes: Shiraz (Syrah), Chardonnay

7 Germany

German wine is known for their aromatic white wines. German wines are exported primarily to US and UK.
Major Grapes: Riesling, Müller-Thurgau

8 South Africa

South Africa has long been known for its Chenin Blanc and produces the largest volume of Brandy in the world.

Major Grapes: Chenin Blanc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinotage, Chardonnay

9 Chile

Chile is proud of the red wine variety Carmenere, known as the ‘lost varietal’ of Bordeaux. Still, export markets demand traditional varieties.

Major Grapes: Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Carménère, Merlot, Sauvignon Blanc

10 Portugal

Portugal is known for Port wine, a high alcohol dessert wine from northern Portugal made by blending several grape varieties.

Major Grapes: Tinta Roriz (Tempranillo), Touriga Franca, Castelão, Touriga Nacional, Alicante Bouschet, Alvarinho, Arinto


Up-and-Comer: China

In 2015 China ranked number 8. Right now, it’s one of the fastest growing wine countries with a focus on the production of dry red wines including Cabernet Sauvignon and Bordeaux-style blends.

They were not included in the list for 2 reasons. One, China doesn’t export much of its juice. And, two, it’s likely there is some data quality issues. We’d love to see some better acreage reports out of China before officially adding them to the list.


How Knowing the World’s Top Wine Regions Helps You

It’s useful to know what the most popular types of wine are in each of the top producing countries for two reasons: value and quality.

Finding Value & Finding Quality

Take a closer look at the regions above including Germany, Italy, Australia and Argentina. Each of these countries focus on a distinct wine variety. For instance, Spain produces the highest volume of Tempranillo in the world. This means that Spain produces both the most value Tempranillo as well as the best Tempranillo in the world.
 
The next time you buy wine from these top regions, focus on what their exceptional wines are. You are more likely to find something you’ll enjoy.

Sources
Wine Institute Facts in pdf
German Wine Statistics pdf from germanwineusa
Wines of Chile
South African Wine site
Wikipedia for olympic size pools

About Madeline Puckette

I'm a certified sommelier and creator of the NYT Bestseller, Wine Folly: The Essential Guide to Wine. Find me out there in the wine world @WineFolly