The wine industry is booming and all across the globe countries are fighting to produce the best of the best. But which country is top when it comes to wine production? We’ve put together a list of the top ten wine producing regions in the world (by splitting that list into Old World and New World), looking at what makes their wine so popular and what you should sample on your next visit!
Wait… What does “New World” and “Old World” mean?
Old World refers to European wine-producing countries. New World refers to everyone else making wine.
Top 5 Wine Producing Wine Countries: Old World Wine Region
Portugal has a rich history of winemaking, creating unique flavours that are a testament to Portugal’s indigenous grape varieties. Although the country is famous for its Port wine, there are plenty more varieties produced across the Portuguese wine regions, including red, white, rose and sparkling. Over the last 20 years, Portugal has enjoyed a wine revolution, opting to stick with their homegrown grapes instead of planting international varieties. This has created a new breed of full bodied, fruity wines that are fast becoming firm favourites with wine experts around the globe.
Germany is famous for its Riesling and these grapes account for a fifth of all wine grapes planted across the country. Alongside the Riesling, Germany is also famous for its white wines as the cooler climate ensures that their whites are lean and crisp, with heightened acidity. Wine is produced in many regions across Germany, however, experts consider the finest German wines to be from the steep slopes in the river valleys.
Spain boasts more ‘area under vine’ than any other European country, with over 2.9 million acres. There are over 600 grape varieties grown in Spain and thanks to the arid climate, the country can produce incredibly concentrated and refined wines. Spain is famous for producing stunning red and white wines however it is known for its Sherry and Cava, two of the country’s most famous exports.
Italy has a staggering 1 million vineyards, so it’s no surprise that wine is grown in 100% of all Italian regions. Thanks to the unique geographical development, Italy can grow a wide range of varieties of wine, with around 350 grapes grown in the country. Italy is famous for its Prosecco and experts predict that by 2020, there will be over 400 million bottles of the sparkling wine produced, consumed and enjoyed!
France is known as the home of wine, with a history dating back to the 6th century BC. In a year, nearly 8 million bottles of wine can be produced in France and around 33% of this is exported all around the world. Wine is produced all across the country, however, Bordeaux is the most popular region thanks to its grape variety. The French are fiercely proud of their wine and take steps to ensure that the quality remains at the highest standard possible. As the home of some of the most expensive wines on the planet, they’re here to show exactly how it should be done.
Top 5 Wine Producing Wine Countries: New World Wine Region
Chile is a new world wine region famous for its fruit-forward and herbaceous wine varieties. The country boasts an ideal climate for wine grape growing, with hot summers, cool coastal breezes, and moderate rainfall. Chile is known best for its Cabernet Sauvignon but also produces a great value Merlot, Chardonnay, Carmenère and Sauvignon Blanc grapes. One of the best things about Chilean wines is the value, with plenty of outstanding bottles of wine available for less than you may expect!
Although South Africa is classed as a New World wine region, it’s winemaking history dates back to 1655. The country now straddles the Old and New World, with ripe, fruity wines that also showcase earthy flavours and a restrained finish. With over 600 wineries across the country, South Africa has cemented itself as one of the most exciting wine producing regions in the world.
There are over 100 grape varieties planted in Australia and wine is produced in every state across the country, although the best Australian wines are found in the cooler territories, such as New South Wales, Victoria and the Barossa Valley. Famed for its Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay. Australia is a fantastic place to find high-quality wines at a reasonable price.
Argentina is the top producer of wine in South America, with a rich vine planting history that goes back over 45 years. The main wine producing region is Mendoza, a unique landscape that’s protected from the rain by the Andes. The grapes are planted in desert-like conditions and watered by snow melt and the altitude at which it is grown. Argentina produces a wide variety of wines, however, the country is most famous for its Malbec and Torrontes.
Wine is big business in the USA, with 30 million winery visits every year. Around 90% of all American wine production comes from California and 100 different grape varieties are grown in this state alone. Napa Valley and Sonoma County are famous for their Pinot Noir and Zinfandels whereas a trip to Washington will lead you to delicious Merlot,Cabernet Sauvignon, and Chardonnay.