I have a newsletter that I’m finishing up for my Explorations Wine Club customers, which is a Carneros Chardonnay. I put together a graph for white wine plantings within California that I thought deserved a short mention on its own:
As you can see, there’s an awful lot of Chardonnay.
The interesting thing is that the conversation with many winemakers doesn’t center on Chardonnay. It’s almost like Chardonnay is so ubiquitous that they don’t feel the need to even discuss it.
But, it’s almost half the white wine plantings in the state of California.
In Oregon, it doesn’t hold as much significance, but it’s growing more quickly than any other varietal. In Washington? Statistics aren’t quite as easy to come by, but it’s also a huge percentage of plantings.
I don’t have an easy answer for why. But, the grape does grow well in a wide variety of climates and offers perhaps more winemaker choice in the production process than does any other. Chardonnay made in new wood vs used wood vs stainless vs concrete eggs are basically different wines. That’s why I would expect to have more conversation about Chardonnay than we do, after all shouldn’t it be interesting if winemakers have more choice and control? Or is this like when we first opened Uncorked Ventures and conversations in Napa Valley seemed more centered around Syrah than Cabernet Sauvignon-is it always the newest thing that’s the most important?