Types of grapes: how many are there and which are the most common

Either because you like to eat it, or because you like the world of wine, you are interested in knowing how many types of grapes there are in the world. However, this answer may overwhelm you. Or maybe pose a challenge to meet in your life.

In fact, there is even a club with more than 1,300 members who pride themselves on having tasted at least 100 grape varieties (there will be those who have tasted more and who are just on the borderline to enter the select club). But, compared to all that there are, perhaps there are not many. Let’s find out!

How many types of grape are there in the world

varieties in vineyard

If right now you are wondering how many different types of grapes there are, the answer may call your attention because, according to experts, there are about 10,000 different varieties.

That means that there is a great variety of them, and surely hybrids or others that, for now, are not official are not taken into account.

Note that all these types of grapes are for eating (the so-called table grapes), for wine, for raisins… that is, they have several uses, although many of them can also be used for various uses.

How many types of grapes are there in Spain?

sweet and sour grapes

10,000 is the number of grape varieties worldwide. But of that number, part of them are from Spain. How many? A small part, a total of 235 varieties, although apparently there are 300 more that were in the process of being identified, and 210 of them were unknown and had no name (we are talking about 2015). Hence the figure in Spain could rise to 535.

Without knowing what has happened (because we have not found information about it), until now Italy and Portugal surpass Spain with 400 and 300 varieties respectively.

The most widely planted and well-known grape types in the world

Now that you have a better idea of ​​the types of grapes that exist in the world, you will come to the conclusion that not all are eaten equally. Some are more popular than others. In fact, if we looked at the production ranking, we would see that the same types are almost always marketed, which makes it very difficult for minorities to reach palates and try them.

But, of the most produced, what are the varieties? In the world, the most important so far are:

  • Cabernet Sauvignon. It is originally from the French Médoc although it is already found in practically the whole world. This variety is in fashion and is one of the most consumed. In Spain it can be found, especially in Catalonia, the Ribera del Duero and Navarra, but little by little more cities are encouraged to cultivate it.
  • Sultanine. This grape variety is one of the ones you may like the most, because we are talking about a seedless one. It is the best known, famous and marketed worldwide. And yes, it is white grape.
  • Merlot. It is a red grape that is mainly used to make aromatic wines. Its origin is in Bordeaux and its production is on a par with that of Cabernet Sauvignon.
  • Tempranillo. It is a red grape, also very present in Spain.
  • Airén. It is a white grape, and it is the most present in Spain.
  • Kyoho. The latter is cultivated in very few countries. Where else, in China. It is a table grape (that is, to eat it) characterized by being very juicy and sweet.

Best-known Spanish grape varieties


If we focus on the specific case of Spain, there are various types of grapes that are known and cultivated. These are:

  • Airén. Until 2020 it was the most abundant production of grapes in Spain. However, it has been surpassed for the first time by the Tempranillo variety. This is characterized by having very large clusters and the grapes very tight between them. It is produced mainly in Ciudad Real, Madrid, Toledo, Murcia and Albacete.
  • Tempranillo. It is a very aromatic red grape with a very fine skin. Of all the grapes in Spain, it is perhaps the most appreciated and important. It is cultivated in many places in Spain, not only in Castilla La Mancha and Madrid, but also in La Rioja, Calatayud, Cuenca…
  • Garnacha Tintorera You may not have seen this before, or maybe you have. It is a red grape that has the peculiarity of also having colored pulp (there is only one other that has the same characteristics, the Alicante Bouché).
  • Bruñal. It is a red grape grown mainly in Castilla y León and which gives rise to small bunches and also very small grapes with hard skin. His skin is between blue and black.
  • Maccabee. If you have ever wondered which grape is used for cavas, here is the answer (actually it is a trio, with the parellada and the Xarel·Lo or Xarello). It is a white grape.
  • Moscatel. The muscatel grape in Spain is very famous. But also very rich. It is aromatic and is consumed as a table grape, although it can also be used in wines. However, keep in mind that it has a high sugar content (it is one of the most prohibitive for diabetics).
  • Peter Jimenez. Another of the white grapes with a high sugar content. It is present especially in southern Spain.
  • Verdejo. White grape appreciated above all for making aromatic, smooth and full-bodied wines. This grape is the one that characterizes the DO Rueda.

Which variety is the sweetest grape

If you are one of those who likes sweets and would like to eat a grape that is as sweet as possible, then you must choose muscatel grapes. These are highly appreciated in Spain, but they are not easy to get, and they are not cheap either.

And the most acidic grapes?

Now, if you are from the other extreme, you like more acidic grapes, then you have to opt for viniferous ones like Garnacha, Cabernet Sauvignon or Tempranillo, Sauvignon Blanc or Gruner Veltliner.

As you can see, there are many types of grapes in the world, and trying them all is practically a challenge that only the wealthiest could meet, since surely there are varieties that are impossible to obtain easily. Now we ask you, How many different grapes have you eaten or drunk?

Types of grapes: how many are there and which are the most common

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