This story originally appeared in the Napa Valley Register (January 15, 2016)
Grenache is widely planted around the world. It is the second most widely planted grape in France, making up 60 percent of the acreage in the Rhone Valley and 70 percent of the acreage in Chateauneuf-du-Pape.
Planted in approximately 500,000 acres worldwide, grenache can be found in Spain, Italy and Australia, as well as in California.
But in California, acreage has declined over the last 20 years from approximately 12,000 acres to approximately 6,500 acres today. Despite this reduction in acreage, grenache production and consumption is on the rise, according to a recent seminar with the Rhone Rangers.
American wine critic and author of the forthcoming American Rhone Wine Movement, Patrick Comiskey moderated a panel of winemakers from throughout California as a tasting and discussion was underway about the rise of grenache in California.
“Despite being grown here more or less continuously for over 150 years, grenache’s range of flavors, its regional expression and its level of profundity are still a long way from being realized,” Comiskey said. “It may have more potential than any other Rhone variety currently grown in the U.S., so it’s time to have a look at the state of the grape.”