Wine has a millennia-old story around the world, but currently, 80 percent of the wine consumed by the world is produced by only 10 countries with Italy, France, Spain, and the United States being the world leaders in wine production. Every year there are more regions that add to the list of the world’s leading wine producers in terms of the quantity and quality of wine produced. Several of the locations in the list are quite surprising, such as the growing number of vineyards in China’s Gobi Desert or the growing number of wineries on Mumbai’s outskirts. We have put together a list of 10 leading wine producers of the world to boost your knowledge!
Italy’s long history of wine production combined with an ideal climate, and over a million vineyards makes it the world leader in wine production. Italy produces more wine than its close rivals even during tough wine conditions. The country’s unique topography makes it ideal for growing more than 500 varieties of grapes in its vineyards, and produces both red and white wines.
Second to Italy in world’s leading wine producers is France, best known for its popular and top-quality wines like Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Champagne. France has a 15 centuries-old history of wine production, but its wine production was sometimes affected by unfavorable spring. Still, Bordeaux, with its fragrant grapes remains the country’s top product.
Spain boasts the largest area of grape cultivation in Europe, but doesn’t produce as much wine as Italy and France – its traditional European rivals. Spanish wines are famous and beloved by the inhabitants for their distinct taste. The cost of Spanish wine is low, and domestic consumption rates are high. The country’s concentrated and refined red and white wines, particularly from the regions of Rioja and Ribera del Duero, are popular around the world. Tempranillo, Sherry, Rioja and Cava are some of the must-try Spanish wines.
The United States
Wines produced by non-European countries are called New World wines, and the US, which has only a few centuries of wine-making history, is the first among New World wine-producing regions. Nearly all US states produce wine, but California, with 100 different grape varieties, produces around 90% of the wine to make it the fourth-largest wine producer in the world. The must-try American wines are Zinfandel, Pinot Noir, Merlot and Corkboard Cabernet Sauvignon.
The wine industry in Argentina has seen significant growth in recent years, making it one of the leading wine producers of the 70 other wine-producing countries in the world. Around 80 percent of Argentina’s total wine production is from the Mendoza region, a unique landscape that is protected from rain by the Andes. Argentina is also the fastest-growing wine exporter, with the red wine, Malbec and white wine, Torrontes favorite among many other excellent varieties. Try Malbec if you love a full-bodied red wine like Cabernet; Torrontes is for those who like unoaked whites with fruity flavors.
Every state in Australia produces wine that is unique to the variety of terroir – including climate, topography and soil in each region. Many people expect Australia to be much further up in wine production as it is a country where one loves staying tipsy, but many areas are too hot and arid for grape cultivation. The wine and grape industry in Australia expects to increase its yield every year with the use of advanced technologies. The wines produced by Australia stand out with excellent value and reasonable prices. The cooler territories of Victoria, South Wales and Barossa Valley produce good quality Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay wines.
With over 9.5 million hectolitres of herbaceous wine varieties, Chile is the second South American wine-producing country. Quite different from its neighbor Argentina, Chile lacks high altitudes, but the hot summers, coastal breezes and moderate rainfall make for the perfect climate for producing great tasting wines of reasonable price. Best known for white wines as well as red wines that thrive in cool climates, Chilean Merlot, Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Noir are the must-try Chilean wines.
Having one of the oldest traditions of winemaking history, China’s wine industry has become more globalized only since the 1980s, making it one of the leading wine producers of our time. Hong Kong is currently the world’s largest market of fine wines. With constant changes and improvements in the quality year by year, modern Chinese wines have a strong French influence. The must-try Chinese wines are Longyan, Chandon China and Bordeaux blends such as Marselan and Cabernet Gernischt (Carménère).
Although categorized as a New World wine region, South Africa has a centuries-old heritage in winemaking. Ever Since the first bottle of wine was produced in 1659 in Cape Town, wine production in South Africa continues to center around Cape Town. The country is perfect for growing wine grapes with its Mediterranean-type climate. The unique location and multicultural population make South African wine a mix of the Old World and New World wines. Its signature red wine ,called Pinotage (a cross between Pinot Noir and Cinsaut), is a favorite around the world. Chenin Blanc and Cabernet Sauvignon are other popular wines to try.
With many vineyards located along the Rhine river, Germany’s winemaking history dates back to Roman times. One-fifth of all the wine grapes planted across the country are accounted to be Riesling, which are used for sweet white wines and dry white wines, and are known for being highly acidic. The primary form of wine produced in Germany is white, as it thrives in cooler climates. Recent decades have seen the introduction of red grapes to vineyards with increased demand in its production and consumption. Riesling, Pinot Grigio, and Sekt (a sparkling wine), Muller-Thurgau and Silvaner are the most popular wines.
The bigger wine-producing countries in the list are quite obvious, but there are a lot of very small countries that made significant growth in recent years. If you are looking to explore wines from different countries, you can consider lots of options like a trip to the vineyards of Croatia or Turkey. If you are confused about which wines to try from a restaurant you can ask a wine associate or sommelier. You will be able to find a wine you will love for the price that you are looking to spend.
So which of these leading wine producers do you want to check off your wine tasting list? Let us know in the comments below!
If you love wine, you must check out this Italian fountain that dispenses free wine 24×7!