The Changing Popularity of Grapes: Key Future Trends

Grape varieties are the foundation of the wine industry, as each variety possesses distinct characteristics that contribute to a wine’s flavor, aroma, and texture. As consumer preferences shift and new grape varieties gain attention, the popularity of certain grapes is constantly evolving. In this article, we will delve into the changing popularity of grapes, focusing on key future trends that are set to shape the industry in the coming years.

The Revival of Indigenous and Rare Grape Varieties

One of the most significant trends in the wine world is the renewed interest in indigenous and rare grape varieties. As consumers seek out unique, terroir-driven wines, winemakers are increasingly turning to lesser-known varieties that offer distinctive flavors and expressions. This trend is particularly evident in countries such as Italy, Spain, Greece, and Portugal, where hundreds of native grape varieties have been rediscovered and revitalized. This movement not only broadens the spectrum of flavors and styles available to consumers but also preserves the viticultural heritage of these regions.

The Rise of Drought-Resistant and Climate-Resilient Varieties

As climate change poses new challenges to the wine industry, the popularity of drought-resistant and climate-resilient grape varieties is on the rise. Winemakers are exploring varieties that can thrive in warmer temperatures, withstand water scarcity, and resist diseases exacerbated by climate change. Examples include the use of Assyrtiko, a heat-tolerant Greek variety, in regions experiencing warmer temperatures, or the planting of drought-resistant varieties like Carignan in water-scarce regions. These adaptive measures will become increasingly important as the industry contends with the impacts of climate change.

The Growing Interest in Aromatic White Varieties

While full-bodied, oak-aged white wines have long been popular, there is a growing trend towards lighter, more aromatic white varieties. Grapes like Albariño, Grüner Veltliner, Vermentino, and Verdicchio are gaining traction among consumers who appreciate their crisp acidity, delicate aromatics, and food-friendly nature. As the trend for fresher, lighter wines continues to grow, we can expect to see even more interest in these and other aromatic white varieties.

The Emergence of Versatile Red Grape Varieties

In the realm of red wines, there has been a noticeable shift towards grape varieties that are versatile and adaptable, both in the vineyard and the winery. Grapes like Grenache, Tempranillo, and Malbec are increasingly popular due to their ability to produce a wide range of wine styles, from lighter, fruit-forward expressions to full-bodied, age-worthy wines. This versatility allows winemakers to experiment with different techniques and styles, offering consumers a diverse range of options to choose from

The Diminishing Dominance of Traditional “Noble” Varieties

While classic “noble” grape varieties such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Chardonnay, and Pinot Noir remain popular, their dominance in the wine world is slowly diminishing. As consumers become more adventurous and seek out new experiences, the appeal of lesser-known and indigenous varieties is growing. This shift in preferences is encouraging winemakers to explore a broader range of grape varieties, creating a more diverse and dynamic wine landscape.

The changing popularity of grape varieties reflects the evolving tastes of consumers and the adaptability of the wine industry in the face of new challenges and opportunities. As winemakers continue to experiment with different grapes and explore the potential of lesser-known varieties, the world of wine will become even more diverse and exciting. By keeping a close eye on these trends, the industry can better meet the demands of consumers and ensure a vibrant and sustainable future for wine production.

Written by

Bernard Marr has a deep passion for wine. He has written hundreds of articles on wine, including features for Forbes, covering wine-making and industry trends. Away from the world of wine, Bernard is a world-renown business and technology futurist. He is the award winning author of over 20 best-selling books and has a combined audience of nearly 4 million people across his social media channels and newsletters.

Wine Sections

Tasting and Enjoying Wine | Bernard Marr | Wine Cellar

Tasting & Enjoying Wine

Understanding Wine Making | Bernard Marr | Wine Cellar

Understanding Wine Making

Understanding Wine Regions | Bernard Marr | Wine Cellar

Understanding Wine Regions

Understanding Grape Varieties | Bernard Marr | Wine Cellar

Understanding Grape Varieties

Understanding Wine Labels | Bernard Marr | Wine Cellar

Understanding Wine Labels

The Wines of the World | Bernard Marr | Wine Cellar

The Wines of the World

Wine Trends & Technology | Bernard Marr | Wine Cellar

Wine Trends & Technology

Wine and Food Pairing | Bernard Marr | Wine Cellar

My Wine Adventures

Wine & Food Diary | Bernard Marr | Wine Cellar

Wine and Food Pairing

Wine Reviews | Bernard Marr | Wine Cellar

Wine Reviews

Some of my most memorable wines