With over 10,000 cultivated varieties of wine grapes worldwide, it’s near impossible to know them all. I’ll go out on a limb and say that it is impossible (at least for one person) to know them all, but there are some varieties that are considered “classics.” As worldwide production and consumption of wine increases, more obscure varietals are gaining recognition and acceptance in the wine drinking community at-large.
The “international varieties” consist of grapes that are likely to be found in most winemaking regions of the world. Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Pinot Noir, Syrah, Chardonnay, Chenin Blanc, Riesling, and Sémillon are generally considered to be the “traditional” international grape varieties.
Other varieties are now gaining popularity in many winemaking regions and are informally included in the discussion of “international varieties.” These include Tempranillo, Sangiovese, Nebbiolo, Pinot Gris, and Gewürztraminer. While other varieties are gaining acceptance as “international,” this last list includes varieties that are the most commonly-accepted “new international” varieties.