As humans traveled across the world, so did wine, but some grapes are more prolific than others around the globe. Merlot seems to be everywhere, as do other grapes such as Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon, so which grapes can be found in the most different places? Inspired by the Transit Maps Tumblr, we created the global transit map below to show just that. Heads Up! The map is extremely large (4000 pixels wide!), although the full size loads quickly.
As you can see, many of the grapes with the longest transit lines originate in France, our central station, which has three connecting transfer areas. We can thank the French’s outstanding job at marketing and the willingness of their winemakers to travel around the globe teaching others how to make wine for this. In order to determine which lines to create and which countries to place as stops, we looked at the University of Adelaide / Wine Economics Research Centre’s database of Regional, National and Global Winegrape Bearing Areas, which lays out which grapes are the most planted in the world, and then shows which countries plant the most of each of these grapes. The country had to plant a meaningful amount of the varietal to be included on that grape’s transit line.
Click To View The Full-Sized Map!
Where’s My Favorite Grape?
We recognize that there are many beloved grapes from certain countries that didn’t make the map at all. Unfortunately, that’s because most of those grapes chose to stay right where they are, instead of jumping on a transit line to travel across the globe. This can be due to many factors: climate conditions, regional tastes or even simply a lack of championing when new regions began to make wine and were exploring which vines to plant. That, or they simply aren’t planted in a meaningful enough quantity in another place to warrant inclusion. For example, while we know that some winemakers are currently planning Nebbiolo in California, that number is very small; it really is a grape that has primarily stayed in Italy.