We’re still drinking Cabernet

For the year 2010, we’ve tracked the top varietals on Wine.com – aka, what are people buying? Unfortunately, this can be hard to distinguish from what people are drinking, as many bottles purchased (particularly during the holidays) are for gifting rather than personal consumption.

The top ranking variety this year (as it was last year) is Cabernet Sauvignon. It grew 38% in volume and led the charge in number of bottles sold. This is not a huge surprise – Cabernet Sauvignon tops many people’s lists. It is one of the most planted and well-known varieties, and is made in a number of styles. It is also a popular gift.

For white wines, Chardonnay tops the list! It’s the other pea in the pod with Cabernet so that should come as no surprise, either.

The numbers we liked more were those in growth – what varieties grew the most this year. Always fun to look at. For reds in 2010, it was Gamay, the fresh & fruity variety of Beaujolais. Growth for Gamay was 200%! We chalk some of this up to the fantastic 2009 vintage in Beaujolias as well as a few great deals on top producers. Next in growth was Bordeaux blends (136%), always a favorite, followed by Sangiovese (93%).

What about whites? One of my favorite varieties, Riesling, came in first at 47%, which is exciting as Riesling can be a much mis-understood grape. Viognier, another fun varietal, came in second at 44%.

So while it seems that people are sticking to Cabernet and Chardonnay in many ways, we’re excited to see the diversity of what’s growing in popularity and what people are sipping. Cheers to trying something new.