Types of Grapes
There are many types of grapes grown all over the world for eating, drinking unfermented, and making wines. This is a basic list of the most important families of grapes.
Types of Grapes Used for Eating
Alicante is a black grape from France, but also grown in California and elsewhere.
Almeria is a white grape of medium to large size, with a mild flavour, and is a good keeper, grown in Spain and the US.
Alphonse Lavalle is a large, round, black grape that has seeds and a firm, crisp texture.
Baresana is a tasty amber-coloured Italian eating grape that has a good flavor, but is not very sweet.
Calmeria has a light green elongated fruit. It is available during the winter.
Cardinal is a dark red, oval grape which sometimes lack flavor.
Catawaba is a large purplish red grape which is now grown mainly for wine and juice. It is an American hybrid of the native fox grape and which has been cultivated in Kentucky since 1802.
Chasselas/Golden Chasselas is a superior yellow French table grape. They may be the oldest known types of grapes to be cultivated.
Concord is a bluish-black American hybrid. The large fruits make delicious juices and jellies. My Mom used to think that the bright purple juice was synthetic, but it is a natural product of this variety.
Delaware is a small, dark pink, soft-skinned, sweet all-purpose grape grown in Brazil and popular in Japan. It is used as a table grape and for wine.
Emperor is a large, thick-skinned, red grape with seeds. It is the second most popular of the types of grapes available for eating in the US. That's more because of how well it keep and travels than for the excellence of its flavor.
Flame is a large, seedless dark red grape. It has a think skin, but is very sweet and juicy.
Gamay is a black grape from which beaujolais is made. Usually grown for the wine industry, it is also excellent for eating fresh.
Hanepoot (Honeypot) is a very sweet, meaty Muscat grape, grown in South Africa, but exported world-wide. It is primarily used as a table or raisin grape.
Italia, has greenish-yellow skin and is the closest, inexpensive alternative to Muscat grapes. The grapes are round with seeds, but very large and juicy, having a pleasantly musky flavour. Europe has the largest market for these types of grapes.
Malaga is a white Spanish grape imported from Malaga, a term used in America for this grape. However, the name is also used for a American-grown large pink or red grape called the Red Malaga. It is crisp, but low in acidity.
Muscat is a general term for a group of table varieties. They are large and range in colour from pale yellow to green to red deep, black. They are sweet and aromatic and have the title of the "king of grapes". Most Muscat grapes are used for making dessert wines and the large "muscatel" raisins.
Napoleon is a large, thick, dark purple-skinned grape that has a heavy white bloom. It is sweet, but not very juicy.
Niagara is a large, pale yellowish-green grape. It is the main white table grape in North America, and has a slight tangy flavour.
Perlette is a very early white, seedless table grape. It has thin skins but firm, crisp, juicy flesh, with a pleasingly tart flavour.
Queen is a large bright to dark red, seeded grape available in the summer.
Regina is an amber grape, elongated, sweet, and crisp. It is a popular table grape in Italy.
Ribier is a large, round, bluish purple-black grape that doesn't have a very strong taste. It is normally available from late summer through the winter.
Thompson Seedless/Sultanina/Kishmish(i) has a green to light gold skin. and is the leading American table grape. It is pleasantly sweet, clean, and refreshing to eat, and is also grown for making seedless raisins.
Tokay/Pinot Gris has an oval red fruit,firm texture, and a mild flavour. It is grown for both table use and making white wine. In North America, it places second in popularity to the Thompson seedless as a table grape.
Types of Grapes Used for Wine-Making
Auxerrois Also called as Malbec or Cot, it is grown mainly in Luxembourg and Canada. In Alsace it is ofted blended with the Pinot Blanc grape.
Barbera Barbera is very widely planted - in California it's about equal with Merlot grape vines. Piedmont Italy is especially well known for this grape.
Cabernet Franc Cabernet Franc is mostly used as an additive to blend with other types of grapes.
Cabernet Sauvignon Bordeaux uses the Cabernet Sauvignon grape, often combined with Merlot. These types of grapes are grown widely in France, California and Australia. They contain a lot of tannin, which creates a good red wine when properly aged.
Chardonnay This is a fresh, fruity grape grown in Burgundy, Champagne, California, Australia, and South Africa. It is one of the easiest to grow and most popular of white grapes.
Chenin Blanc It is planted primarily in the US and in the Loire valley of France. This grape is called Steen in South Africa. Chenin Blanc wines age well up to ten years or more.
Cinsaut This mild grape is used mostly for blending with other, stronger types of grapes. Cinsaut is grown in Southern France, Lebanon, Australia and South Africa.
Colombard These grapes are used to make a light wine that goes well with seafood. It is mostly used in South Africa.
Cortese This grape ripens early and makes a neutral white wine. It is grown primarily in Piedmont, Italy.
Ehrenfelser Ehrenfelser is extremely frost resistant, and is grown primarily in Canada.
Gamay This popular grape is used in French Beaujolais Nouveau wine. It is often drunk young in light fruity reds.
Gewurztraminer The first part of the name can be translated "spicey" from the German. Gewurztraminer is grown in Germany, Italy, California, Canada and Australia.
Grande Vidure This grape was best known for its use in Medoc wines. Some people thought that this grape had been destroyed by phylloxera. However, cuttings were taken to Chile in the mid-nineteenth century. The grape is known for its cultivation challenges and low yields.
Grenache Grenache is most often used for rose wine, and is widely grown in France, Spain and California. It is the second most planted grape in the world.
Kerner Kerner is resistant to frost and does well in cooler climates like Michigan, US.
Lemberger Lemberger is a popular Austrian wine that is also heavily cultivated in Washington, US.
Maréchal Foch This grape comes from hardy vines that result in a good range of red wines.
Merlot Merlot wine is a major blending ingredient of most Bordeaux wines. It is grown in France, Italy, Australia, Canada and the United States.
Muller-Thurgau This popular German grape is grown in Germany, Austria, New Zealand, and the northwest section of the US.
Muscadet Muscadet or Muscadekke is one of the white grapes grown in Bordeaux.
Muscadine Muscadine grows primarily in southeastern US and in Mexico. It is very hardy and grows in places that other types of grapes might not.
Muscat This is a very grapey-tasting grape that doesn't ripen easily. There are various varieties of Muscat grapes.
Muskat Krymskii This wonderfully scented white grape is used in Bulgaria, the Ukraine and other eastern European countries. The wine tends to be light-golden, and to have a clean fruity bouquet.
Nebbiolo This is a late ripening grape that has been labelled as tannic, pruny, tarry and chocolatey. It is very difficult to grow, but is cultivated in the Piedmont area of Italy, Switzerland, California and Australia.
Optima This German grape is only used to add sweetness to other wines.
Ortega This is a very tasty grape that produces wine with a mangoey taste to it. It is grown in Canada.
Petite Sirah A dark, tannic, fruity grape. It sometimes has a smoky or chocolatey flavor. It is popular in California.
Pinot Blanc This grape is grown in Alsace, Italy, Austria and California.
Pinot Gris This grape is grown in France, Germany, Austria and along the west coast of the US. It is used to create both whites and roses.
Pinot Noir These types of grapes are used often in red wines, but they are also used without skins in Champagne. Pinot Noir grapes are grown in Burgundy, Australia, California, Oregon, Italy and Germany.
Pinotage Developed in the early 1900s and grown primarly in South Africa, the Pinotage grape makes a wine that is hearty, with a fruity, spicy taste.
Riesling One of the most flexible types of grapes, riesling can produce different wines depending on region, average temperatures, and timing of harvest. It results in dry crisp and fruity wines, and well honeyed, musky flavours in warmer climates or when left longer on the vine. Native to Germany, and is also grown in France, Australia, California, and Canada.
Sauvignon Blanc This grape is grown primarily in California and France and makes a crisp, light wine.
Scheurebe This grape is cultivated primarily in Germany, and is used for aromatic white wines.
Semillon This thin-skinned grape is used mostly in Bordeaux France, but is also grown in Australia and California.
Seyval Seyval is one of the most widely cultivated grapes east of the Rocky Mountains in the US. Seyval wines have melony flavors, as well as grassy/hay overtones.
Sylvaner Sylvaner was once the most widely planted grape in Alsace, France, but now accounts for less than 15% of grape production. The grape produces a pleasant, but bland, white wine.
Syrah/Shiraz This grape is called Syrah in France and California, and Shiraz in Australia. Syrah often has minerally, blueberry, or sometimes spicy and peppery types of flavors.
Siegerrebe Wines made with Siegerrebe have peach and honey tones.
Viogner Viogner is a rare French variety that can produce fairly complex wines.
Vidal Blanc Vidal does well in late harvest sweet wines, as well as in icewines.
Zinfandel Most Zinfandel grapes are grown in California
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