Fruit Facts

Which Grapes Make the Best Wines?

August 17, 2017

It’s a question wine connoisseurs (and those of us who just enjoy a drink at the end of a long day) have been asking for centuries — which grapes make the best wines? While there’s plenty that goes into making a delicious bottle of wine, arguably the most important aspect is how the grapes are grown. Whether your palate leans more red or white, dry or sweet, here’s a little bit of information regarding how and where your favorite grapes are grown.

The Age-Old Debate: White Grapes vs. Red Grapes

As one would assume, white grapes are primarily used to make white wines, while red grapes are used to make red wines. For many years, white wines reigned supreme. In 2000, white wine grapes were more widely grown across the globe. However, in 2010, red wine grapes surpassed white wine grapes when they went from consisting of 49 percent of the marketplace to 55 percent.



  • Parellada: This Spanish grape is primarily produced in Catalonia where their slightly irregularly shape sets them apart from other similarly colored bunches. While these grapes have adapted to grow well in most soils, they need to be grown nearly 700 meters above sea level, where the nights are cool and they can ripen slowly.
  • Riesling: Riesling may have originated in Germany, but today you can taste it all over the world thanks to the fact that it can thrive in a number of different climates, including its homeland of Germany, New Zealand, Canada, South Africa, and The United States.
  • Torrontés: Since 2008, Torrontés has remained the most widely planted white grape variety in all of Argentina. But if you want to make the most of this grape’s wine, you better act fast. For the freshest taste, most Torrontés bottles should be had within a year of their vintage date.


  • Chardonnay: Throughout the 1990’s Chardonnay was arguably the most popular wine grape. Though it originated in Bourgogne, France, Chardonnay grapes are incredibly adaptive and are grown all over the United States, France, Australia, and South Africa.
  • Trebbiano Toscano: One trip to Tuscany and you’ll understand why everyone loves Trebbiano Toscano — the most widely planted grape in Tuscany. Tuscany’s yearlong, mild climate is the perfect place to grow these acidic, tough skinned grapes.
  • Airén: Grown primarily in Spain, Airén grapes are a part of the Vitis vinifera family. They’re incredibly durable and can survive for long periods of time without water and grow in almost any soil type. For the best results, they should also be covered by greenery, to protect their skin from the strong Spanish sun.



  • Black Muscat: Known as one of (potentially the) oldest known grape variety in the world. Muscat grapes have been grown and cultivated in the Mediterranean region for thousands of years. Muscat grapes of all varieties grow the best in warm climates and damp, deep soil. Today, black muscat grapes are just one of the 200 varieties of the Muscat grape family.
  • Trollinger: If you enjoy Black Muscat, there’s a strong chance you’ll also enjoy Trollinger, as Black Muscat is made from a cross of Trollinger and Muscat of Alexandria. Today, Trollinger is grown exclusively on the steep, sun-filled region of Baden-Württemberg.
  • Dornfelder: Relatively new to the group, Dornfelder wasn’t bred until the mid 1950s. Despite its relatively young age, it’s become a staple among homes in Germany, the United States, and Portugal. The highest quality Dornfelder wines are made from grapes that are textured, plump, just beginning to flower, and are traditionally oaked.


  • Cabernet Sauvignon: As one of the most widely recognized red wine grape varieties, Cabernet Sauvignon is grown in nearly every major wine producing country. While us wine lovers enjoy its taste, growers love that it’s one of the few grapes that is easy to grow, can survive in cooler conditions, and is incredibly disease-resistant.
  • Merlot: If you enjoy wine, there’s a good chance you’ve had Merlot. Around the world, Merlot is the second most commonly planted wine grape (coming in only after Cabernet Sauvignon). Merlot grapes grow the best in regions that have high amounts of Limestone soil, like Italy, California, Australia, and Chile. And if you truly want to show off your love for Merlot, make sure to mark your calendars for November 7 — International Merlot Day!
  • Garnacha Tinta: Unlike many other grapes, which have adapted to grow in many different environments, Garnacha Tinta grapes are a dark red and ripen very late, so they need to be planted in a hot, dry climate. Because of this, the grape originated in and is still primarily found in Spain.
  • Tempranillo: Over the past few years, Tempranillo has become one of the fastest-expanding wine grape varieties. Native to Spain’s warm, rainy climate, hearty Tempranillo grapes are used to make a full-bodied red.

Now that you’ve got your favorite bottle, and know a little bit about the grapes that made it, it’s time to pair it with your favorite foods!