In a previous blog, we talked about the best destinations for wine lovers, and today we’ll delve deeper into the subject with a list of the top wine regions of the world. As more countries join in on the wine craze, the historically reliable regions still lead the pack. In fact, about 80% of the wine produced comes from just 10 countries. Here, we’ll discuss the main wine regions of the world and what makes them so special. Plus, we’ll identify which grapes and types of wine these countries produce. Check out the list below!
Italy and France are consistently neck-and-neck in the running for the top wine-producing region. According to the International Organisation of Vine and Wine (OIV), in the past year or so, Italy has produced about two million hectoliters (about 55 million gallons) more wine than France, boosting it to the top of the wine region list. Italy is always at the top for a reason: numerous cities in the country produce delicious varieties of wine—and millions of people drink it.
Top wine cities: Tuscany, Naples, Piedmont, and Veneto
Major grape varieties: Sangiovese, Glera, Montepulciano, Trebbiano Toscano, and Barbera
Most popular wines: Trebbiano toscano (also known as ugni blanc) and Chianti classico
France is the country that most often comes to mind when people think about the top wine countries. For centuries, wine has played a massive role in French culture. From French nobility in the early 18th century to normal families today, wine has permeated into the lives of so many French people. Because of this, the country is teeming with wineries, vineyards, and wine barrels. It’s an iconic Old-World wine region.
Top wine regions: Bordeaux, Burgundy, Champagne, Provence, and Loire Valley
Major grape varieties: Cabernet Franc, pinot noir, Gamay, and Carignan
Most popular wines: Rosé and cabernet sauvignon
Although Spain has the largest vineyard acreage in the world, their wine yields are much lower than those of France and Italy, keeping Spain in third place for the top wine region. Nonetheless, wine plays just as significant a role in Spanish culture as it does in French society. Many wines in Spain are defined by their strict aging criteria in both barrel and bottle. The varieties are vast, and almost every bottle has a depth that’s hard to find in other regions’ wines.
Top wine cities: Rioja, the Sherry Triangle (Jerez, Sanlúcar, and El Puerto), Ribera del Duero, Priorat, and Valencia
Major grape varieties: Grenache, Tempranillo, Graciano, Moscato, and Airén
Most popular wines: Rioja and albariño
4. United States
Throughout the years, the United States has really improved its wine-making game and has been a consistent wine region since. The majority of wine producers are found in California, but other states such as Oregon and Washington are making an impact as well. The U.S. is also one of the biggest wine consumers in the world, consistently ranking at the top of the list for the past few year.
Top wine regions: Willamette Valley, OR; Napa Valley and Modesto, CA; and Walla Walla Valley, WA
Major grape varieties: Chardonnay, Merlot, Zinfandel, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Sauvignon blanc
Most popular wines: Cabernet sauvignon and chardonnay
Argentina has slowly become a big player in the world of wine. Its wine production rates have grown year after year: OIV shows that their rates went up a whopping 23% in the last year alone. Because of the country’s high altitude and low humidity, vintners are able to cultivate their grapes with little to no pesticides, making organic wine easy to produce.
Top wine cities: Mendoza, Cafayate, Córdoba, Rio Negro, and Patagonia
Major grape varieties: Bonarda, Malbec, Chardonnay, Syrah, and Torrontés
Most popular wines: Malbec and chardonnay
Wine exportation in Australia is huge. The wine industry has been a massive contributor to the Australian economy; the country relies heavily on exporting to the U.S. and has recently begun exporting to Asia. Wine is produced in every state, but the most popular wines come from the southern parts of the country, which are much cooler and allow for a vast array of wine varieties.
Top wine regions: McLaren Vale, Hunter Valley, Tamar Valley, Adelaide Hills, and Barossa Valley
Major grape varieties: Shiraz, Sémillon, Riesling, Merlot, and Cabernet Sauvignon
Most popular wines: Syrah and chardonnay
Chile is well-known for its red wine varieties. The depth and explosion of flavor of the country’s wine consistently has people turning to it for their red wine needs. Chile is most well-known for the red wine variety carménère, which is known as the “lost varietal” of Bordeaux. The country had a slower wine production year in 2017, but it saw a 36% increase in 2018.
Top wine regions: Colchagua Valley, Maipo Valley, Cachapoal Valley, Casablanca Valley, and Elqui Valley
Major grape varieties: Carménère, Sauvignon Blanc, Syrah, Chardonnay, and Zinfandel
Most popular wines: Carménère, cabernet sauvignon, and syrah
8. South Africa
South Africa isn’t just beautiful—it’s also one of the world’s most important wine producers. Wine production is concentrated around the populous Cape Town, which has numerous vineyards and production centers. Their wine regulations are actually quite strict, with about 60 different appellations within the Wine of Origin (WO) system.
Top wine areas: Stellenbosch Valley, Franschhoek Valley, Constantia, and Paarl
Major grape varieties: Chenin blanc, Pinotage, Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Sémillon
Most popular wines: Pinotage and chenin blanc
Germany is one of the smaller wine regions, but what lacks in acres, it more than makes up for in robust flavor. Their wines have a mixed reputation: some people find them elegant and aromatically pure, whereas others see the country as the source of mass-market semi-sweet wines. However, Germany is quite well-known for its wines made from the Riesling grape and for the steep vineyards of Mosel.
Top wine regions: Mosel, Rheingau, Mittelrhein, Palatinate, and Rheinhessen
Major grape varieties: Farberrebe, Riesling, Gewürztraminer, Müller-Thurgau, and Silvaner
Most popular wines: Riesling and pinot noir
If any of these regions spark your interest, try out one of their wines. At Wines ‘Til Sold Out, we offer an online wine store that features some amazing wine from the producers above. We offer the best of the best at prices you’ll love. In honor of our anniversary, we’ll have a Cheapskate Marathon from 7 a.m. to midnight EST on August 6th, when new bottles will only cost anywhere from $8.99 to $18.99—you won’t want to miss it!