June 9, 2017 adminIFAW

Italy is by a long shot the single country with the most vineyard-related biodiversity in the world, and this is not only due to the record it can boast regarding PDO and PGI wines (over 520 in total), but also to the fact that 75% of its vineyards (690.000 hectares in total, with 650.000 of those used to grow wine grapes) hosts the top 80 most cultivated grape varieties. A huge number, compared to Portugal’s less than 40 varieties and Romania’s less than 30, which are immediately below Italy in this peculiar ranking, which was created by the International Organisation of Vine and Wine OIV as part of the 2017 report on world winemaking which was presented during the Organisation’s global congress that has recently taken place in Sofia, Bulgaria. All in all, the report backs the previous document on the matter, which was created in April and published during the 2017 edition of the Vinitaly wine fair in Verona (that is, 7.5 million hectares of vineyards at a global level, a 2016 output of around 75 million tons, 267 million hectoliters of wine produced and 241 million consumed the world over,, and then focuses on vineyards and varieties. The Organisation’s numbers further confirm Italy’s lead in wine biodiversity, which is vastly superior to the biodiversity found in the vineyards of its main competitors, like France and Spain, since 75% of those are dedicated to only 15 grape varieties. Furthermore, the OIV document states, Sangiovese is Italy’s most widespread variety, with 8% of all hectares, followed by Montepulciano, Glera and Pinot Grigio (4% apiece), Merlot (3%), and other accounting for the remaining 77%. In France, on the other hand, Merlot is king (14% of the 785.000 hectares in total), followed by Ugni Blanc (or Trebbiano Toscano) and Grenache (10% each), Syrah (8%) and Chardonnay (6%): these five varieties cover 48% of all vineyards. Spain’s situation is even more polarized, with most of its vineyards (975.000 hectares, the highest number in the world) covered by Airen (22%) and Tempranillo grapes (21%), followed by Bobal and Garnacha (6%) and Viura (or Macabeu, with 5%), and all others relegated to the remaining 39%.

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