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Researchers map out world's winegrape varieties

Monday, 6 January 2014

University of Adelaide researchers have compiled statistics from 44 countries to develop the first database of the world's winegrape varieties and regions.

The new database, funded by the Grape and Wine Research and Development Corporation (GWRDC), provides an in-depth analysis of the world's wine varieties and winegrape growing nations that account for 99% of global wine production.

University of Adelaide School of Economics Professor Kym Anderson says a database of this nature has been highly sought by the wine industry.

"In the wake of wine's globalisation, wine producers need to exploit their geographical and varietal distinctiveness in order to boost their competitiveness. This database, for the first time, offers transparency across the world's wine varieties and regions," Professor Anderson says.

This detailed database also uncovers more about changing trends in wine consumer behaviour.

"The database reveals that 20 years ago Airen, a white winegrape variety from Spain, was the most widely grown globally, but now Cabernet Sauvignon is the world's most grown winegrape," Professor Anderson says.

"In 2000, white winegrapes were more widely grown; however, in the decade to 2010 red winegrapes increased their share of the global vine-bearing area from 49% to 55%.

"This is consistent with what we know about changes in wine consumption, with numerous countries moving away from white and consumption rising in recent years in China where red wine is preferred."

Professor Anderson says wine growers can also use this database to adapt to climate change. "Wine producers are well aware of the impact climate change is having on their winegrapes. They're continually on the lookout for attractive varieties that perform well in climates similar to what they expect theirs to become in the decades ahead."

Dr Stuart Thomson, GWRDC Executive Director, says this database is an exciting new tool for Australian wine producers.

"GWRDC is pleased to have teamed with the University of Adelaide to build and implement this exciting new tool to further support a competitive Australian wine sector," Dr Thomson says.

The database is available online at: www.adelaide.edu.au/wine-econ/databases/winegrapes and an e-book can be freely downloaded at: www.adelaide.edu.au/press/titles/winegrapes

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