It will hardly surprise anyone that Chardonnay and Cabernet are (still) the most popular grape varieties in the USA. The exiting newcomer on the podium is Pinot Noir that is now solidly in third place. This is not least due to the fabulous success it has had in Oregon.
When it comes to which grapes are most popular, what really counts, though, is what happens in California. The west-coast state is very dominant with 80-90% of the total US production.
But when looking at the statistics for grapes, one must also keep in mind that much grapes are used for other purposes, grape juice or raisins primarily. In fact, the most planted grape, all categories, in the US is Sultana (Sultanina).
Read more on this in Britt’s article on Forbes: The most popular wine grapes in the US: Chardonnay and Cabernet. The full top 10 list.
Here’s the introduction:
Reading statistics can be tricky. Total acreage of vines planted does not always correspond to the volume of wine produced. The reason? Some of the vines planted may be table grapes or grapes used for raisins or grape juice. The total vineyard surface in the US is a little over 1 million acres (approx. 440,000 hectares). However, all vines are not used for making wine.
The most grown grape in the United States is the Sultanina and this grape is either eaten or dried to raisins. There are 148,000 acres (60,000 hectares) of this grape, so 14% of the total surface of vines in the US. Moreover, there are 34,000 hectares of the Concord. This grape can be transformed into wine and occasionally is, mainly on the East coast, but nowadays it is more popular for jelly, juice and jam.
If we discard non-wine-making varieties from the statistics, we have roughly 800,000 acres (320,000 hectares) of vineyards for wine production in the United States.
Read all of Britt’s article, as well as many other texts on wine, on BKWine on Forbes.
(Statistics from OIV, Oregon Wine Board and California Wine Institute.)