California’s other 7%


Most major wine regions of the world have come to be dominated by a select few grape varieties. In Europe, of course, the appellation system itself ensures this kind of varietal particularity from region to region. France’s most recent survey of plantings (in 2011) indicated that eight grape varieties (only two of them pale-skinned) make up 64% of the country’s plantings.

While the wine regions in the New World lack the centuries of specialisation that have led to the indelible ties between Chenin Blanc and the Loire or Pinot Noir and Burgundy, for example, that doesn’t mean New World plantings...