The plant, from whose fruit wine is made, is the Noble grape vine (Vitis vinifera ). Like most crops, they are in different varieties, which are referred to in the wine as wine grapes. Taste, structure and properties of a wine such as durability and potential for development are influenced by the grape variety, location, and their soil characteristics, climate and weather, as well as through the expansion of the winemaker.

The ampelography (Greek ) is the science of grape varieties. She had formerly limited to the detailed description of each variety. Description Features are the shoot tip (shape, pubescence ), the young leaf, the adult leaf ( leaf blade, petiole, perforation of the sheet edge, etc.), cluster size and shape, berry size and shape, and the berry color. However, since the DNA analysis is possible, the ampelographers deal increasingly with the clarification of the phylogenetic relationships of varieties.

The individual varieties are recorded in a separate list of grape varieties.


Since about 5000 BC caused by cultivation of wild vines 8,000 to 10,000 varieties. Of these, about 2,500 approved in different countries for wine production. Many are now grown rare, and only a few hundred grape varieties are important, even less of national importance.

Classification by purpose

When the grapes between wine and table grapes as well as grape is distinguished for producing raisins. There are also ornamental screws, which are not suitable for human consumption.

For the wine-making a distinction between red wine and white wine. Each grape variety has characteristic aromas. Why have two wines, even if they are caused to thousands of kilometers distant places, very much in common, if they were made ​​from the same grape. Not all wines are based on only one grape variety, red Bordeaux, for example, is usually a blend of at least three dar. addition is not necessarily only made ​​from red grapes red wine, but white wine, namely the Blanc de Noirs. Many red grape varieties namely the flesh is not red, but the red color only fit into the shell. Also rosé wine comes from red grapes.

Classification by maturity date

Whether or not a variety is suitable for a certain location depends largely on the maturity date. From today's perspective, the maturity date is characterized by an optimal ratio of sugar to acid. Each grape variety can be assigned to a minimum period between flowering and maturity. In early ripening varieties this time is relatively small, much longer in late-ripening varieties. In northern growing areas arrive early maturing varieties are used. These varieties, however, would entirely inharmonious fall into southern growing areas, because although the sugar content by sufficient sunshine is high enough other ingredients that are absorbed through the root system, can not be enriched to a sufficient degree. This late -maturing varieties are used. Since the term was, however, diverging from early -maturing and late -maturing of all growing areas, put the end of the 19th century the Frenchman Victor Pulliat before a uniform classification. As a reference, grape, he took the very early ripening Gutedel and compared with other varieties of this species. As an indicator of the must weight was introduced. As a base served varieties collections as they were applied to important scientific institutions. As an organization he chose a 5 Categories comprehensive scale:

  • The early maturing varieties (French: cépages précoces ) mature before the Chasselas
  • The varieties of the first meiotic period (French: cépages de Première époque ) ripen almost simultaneously with the Chasselas, but no later than 10-12 days thereafter. These include varieties such as Chardonnay, Pinot Gris, Pinot Noir and Gamay
  • The varieties of the second maturation period (French: cépages de deuxième époque ) mature for at least 2 weeks, but no later than 20-22 days after that. These include varieties such as Chenin, Sauvignon, Semillon, Riesling, Syrah, Cabernet Franc and Merlot.
  • The varieties of the third maturity period (French: cépages de troisième époque ) mature for at least 3 weeks, but no later than 30-35 days after that. These include varieties such as Grenache and Cabernet Sauvignon.
  • The varieties of the fourth period of maturity (French: cépages de quatrième époque ) mature for at least 4 weeks after Chasselas.

Each period can be sometimes still divided into three. In this case one speaks, for example, at the first maturity period from the early, middle or late first maturity period. Since each individual maturity period is about 1 week, can, in this way, the varieties in steps of 2 to 3 days einklassieren.

Newer models are, presented by the Americans Winkler and Amerine of the University of California at Davis. They looked at the heat sum of different regions and minimum combined heat totals with the growing possibility of certain varieties. Under the heat sum according to Winkler is defined as the sum of the daily mean temperatures above 10 ° C.

View the resistance

For the organic viticulture division into fungus-resistant and non- fungus-resistant varieties is important. Since the 60s were, inter alia, the red varieties Cabernet Cortis and Regent as well as the grape variety bred specifically to St. John fungal resistance. The abbreviation " piwi " is occasionally used for such varieties, but they are also referred to as resistant varieties.

More fungus-resistant varieties that exemplified in Rhineland -Palatinate in 2011 to a total of 1768 hectares ( = 2.8 percent of the area under vines ) were in cultivation, are Phoenix, Cabernet Blanc, Solaris, Saphira, Pinotin, Cabernet Cortis, Cabertin, Orion, Muscaris, principal, Staufer, Helois Bronner, Bolero, Sirius, Villaris, Prior and Souvignier gris.


The global area under vines is (as of 2000) about 7.9 million hectares, equivalent to 79,000 km ². Accounts which nearly 5 million acres ( 50,000 km ²) to Europe.

It 's hard to create a ranking of most cultivated varieties. The figures are based on statistics from different years and were collected using different methods. For example, some varieties are summarized in some countries but not in others. Also, certain varieties are promoted or withdrawn due to preferences or government regulations. For this reason, caution is advisable in such a comparison, and creating a fully valid list not possible.

The area in the table below is given in hectares, the column color correlates with the colored backing of the respective lines. In the Synonyms column up to two synonyms are available for the most common name. The main areas of cultivation column shows the states with the largest vineyards, and year is the year of the acquisition of the data.