Europe makes around two thirds of the world’s wine. This year global production is expected to hit 271 million hectolitres, or 27.1 billion litres.
Staggeringly, Europe’s top three producers make between them nearly half of the global total and around 80 percent of the continents wine.
This year has actually been a difficult one for wineries thanks largely to climatic hazards, with France and Germany two of the very few countries to experience a growth in production.
Here is a rundown of the top 10 from Europe.
#10 Bulgaria – 1.3 million hectolitres
Ranked 18th largest producer in the world, Bulgaria is making an increasingly fashionable selection of wines including Red Misket, Muskat Ottonel, and Rkatsiteli. This year it will hit 1.23 million hectolitres, which actually represents a decline of around 30 percent, caused by poor climate. The country has roughly 80,000 hectares of vineyard.
#9 Austria - 2.25 million
This year Austria is on track to produce 2.25 million hectolitres, a drop of six percent. A white wine-dominated producer, the average size of winegrowing farms has increased significantly during the last two decades. The country has three classifications for its wine: “Tafelwein” (table wine), “Qualitaetswein” (quality wine), and “Praedikatswein” (premium wine).
#8 Hungary – 2.7 million
One of the most up and coming producers in Europe, Hungary’s output is set to increase by three percent this year and annual production has grown by a million hectolitres since 2010 to 2.7 million. Its Tokaj wine region contains more than 11,000 hectares and is growing its reputation year-on-year, not least at Budapest’s annual wine festival held in the stunning surrounds of Buda Castle, overlooking the parliament building across the Danube.
#7 Greece – 2.9 million
Despite a drop of 13 percent year-on-year, Greece still ranks above Brazil and is 14th in the world. Germany imports a huge amount of wine from the country (roughly 45 percent of its wine exports), with major producing areas include Northern Greece, Central Greece, Peloponnese and the Ionian Islands, the Aegean islands, and Crete.
#6 Romania – 4.1 million
Romania produces more wine than New Zealand despite a drop of 20 percent this year, again due to poor climatic conditions. Feteasca Alba and Feteasca Regala are the main white varieties, followed by Riesling, Aligote, Sauvignon, and Muscat. Leading red varieties are Merlot and Cabernet Sauvigno. Around 85 percent of vineyard space is dedicated to the growth of white wines.
#5 Portugal – 5.9 million
Moving into perhaps the more familiar suspects, Portugal is ranked 11 in the world and is renowned for its high-class red varieties. Output fell by six percent this year, with red and rose wines accounting for roughly 70 percent of all production.
#4 Germany – 9.7 million
It has been a strong year for the German wine industry, with production up by 16 percent. The top five white varieties are Riesling, Mueller-Thurgau, Silvaner, Pinot Grigio, and Pinot Blanc with the most popular red varieties including Pinot Noir, Dornfelder, Portugieser, Trollinger, and Black Riesling. Around 60 percent of wines made here are white wines.
#3 Spain – 37 million
A huge jump to Spain, where 37 million hectolitres of wine will have been produced by year end. This represents a fall of 19 percent, but the Iberian country is still well ahead of the United States (22.5 million). Popular varieties include Rioja, both in red and white variations. Last year saw a record 45.7 million hectolitres of wine produced.
#2 Italy – 44.4 million
Italy has been bumped off of top spot thanks to a fall of 15 percent compared to 2013, which saw the country produce 52.4 million hectolitres. According to industry experts, the most popular grape varietals for red wine are Montepulciano, Barbera, Sangiovese, and Merlot. Tocai is the most popular choice of white wine, perhaps somewhat surprisingly ahead of staples such as Pinot Grigio and Prosecco.
#1 France – 46.2 million
A 10 percent jump has seen France overtake Italy for this year’s title of top wine producer in Europe and the world, equating to around 7 billion bottles. French wine traces its history to the sixth century BC, with many regions dating their wine-making history to Roman times. By EU law wine produced outside of the Champagne region is not permitted to assume the title of Champagne. Other popular varieties include Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, which in itself has around 30 different varieties spanning a huge range of tastes.