Grape varieties of Alsace

Wine growing area

The total area under wine has increased from 11 750 ha in 1981 to 15 448 ha in 2007. This is still 50% below the area under wine in the 14th century. At present, Riesling is the most widely grown variety, in 1981 Sylvaner was most grown, followed by Gewurztraminer.

Pinot Gris has increased dramatically, from 550 ha in 1981 to 2 270 ha in 2007. The market for red wines have grown, reflected in an increase for Pinot Noir from 640 to 1 476 ha. At the same time, Chasselas has reach a level close to extinction, dropping from the 1981 figure of 420 ha to a mere 105 ha in 2007.

Druva Fraction of total area under vine 15 448 ha in 2007
Riesling 3 377 ha 21.8% alttext
Pinot blanc¹ 3 305 ha 21.3% alttext
Gewurztraminer 2 867 ha 18.6% alttext
Pinot gris 2270 ha 14.7% alttext
Sylvaner 1 430 ha 9.3% alttext
Pinot noir 1 476 ha 9.6% alttext
Muscat 352 ha 2.3% alttext
Others 168 ha 1.1% alttext
Chasselas 105 ha 0.7% alttext
Mixed 90 ha 0.6% Alsace
¹:In the area for Pinot blanc 1/3 is Auxerrois
²:Others includes Chardonnay and Klevener d´Heiligenstein

What is in the bottle?

The grape variety per se is the basis for the wines of Alsace. The tradition, enforces by the legislation, builds upon the fact that single variety wines is the norm.

The three AOC of Alsace allow the use of different varieties. In fact, only Pinot Gris, Riesling and, to very limited extent, Sylvaner, can be used for all three AOC. A summary of allowed use of varieties is:

Appellation d´origine controllée
Alsace Grand Cru
Crémant d´Alsace
Auxerrois Alsace Alsace
Chardonnay Alsace
Chasselas Alsace
Gewurztraminer Alsace Alsace
Muscat Alsace Alsace
Pinot blanc Alsace Alsace
Pinot Gris Alsace Alsace Alsace
Pinot Noir Alsace Alsace
Riesling Alsace Alsace Alsace
Sylvaner Alsace Alsace
Sylvaner may only be used for a AOC Alsace Grand Cru on Zotzenberg, Mittelbergheim.