Cabernet Sauvignon has replaced Spain's Airen as the world's most popular grape variety, shows a new study, but researchers warned of shrinking diversity in vineyards.
There were close to 300,000 hectares of Cabernet Sauvignon planted around the world in 2010, up from just over 100,000 two decades ago, shows the University of Adelaide study.
It claims to be a first-of-its-kind report charting plantings across 44 countries accounting for 99% of global wine production.
Their work revealed the rising popularity of native French varieties, which have benefited from wider adoption in New World countries to account for 36% of global vineyard area in 2010, versus 26% in 2000.
In that time, Merlot has joined Cabernet Sauvignon at the top of the plantings league, moving into second place, overtaking Garnacha Tinta now 7th, leaving Airen in 3rd place overall.
Other big losers over the past two decades include Trebbiano Toscano, Mazuelo and Rkatsiteli, with many vines either ripped out or replaced in the 1990s.
But, the study has also served as a warning over shrinking diversity on the world wine scene.
‘Also of concern is that the diversity of winegrapes is narrowing to a few “international” varieties,’ said the researchers.
Their study shows that, in 2010, the top 35 grape varieties made up two thirds of the world’s winegrape growing area, versus 59% in 2000.
The top 10 grape variety plantings worldwide in 2010:
1. Cabernet Sauvignon
7. Garnacha Tinta
8. Sauvignon Blanc
9. Trebbiano Toscano
10. Pinot Noir
Written by Chris Mercer