Grapes in the World Economy

  • Julian M. AlstonEmail author
  • Olena Sambucci
Part of the Compendium of Plant Genomes book series (CPG)


With a farm gate value in 2016 of US$68 billion, grapes are the world’s third most valuable horticultural crop (after potatoes and tomatoes). Cultivation of grapes for fruit and wine began at least 7000 years ago in the Near East, and over the millennia, thousands of cultivars have been developed and selected for particular purposes. Nowadays, grapes are grown all around the world, but mainly in places having a temperate, Mediterranean-style climate, and they are used to produce diverse consumer products including wine, table grapes, raisins, grape juice concentrate and distillate for various industrial uses as well as making fortified wine and brandy. The cultivars of grapes used to make these diverse products are likewise diverse, but a relatively small number account for the vast majority of production in each major category. Predominantly, European V. vinifera scions are grown on rootstock from phylloxera-resistant Native American species. Particular cultivars are valuable to farmers in particular applications for their agronomic traits and fruit-quality traits, which together determine the value of the crop and the cost of producing it. These values can be conditioned by consumer preferences for attributes of the production process and by government policies including trade taxes, alcohol excise taxes, and regulations over production practices or limiting yields. Evolving demands for traits create demands for work by viticulturists and other scientists to understand the grape genome and work with it.


Grape area planted Quantity produced Farm gate value Grape utilization Grape cultivars Evolving demands for grapevine traits 



The work for this project was partly supported by a Specialty Crop Research Initiative Competitive Grant, Award No. 2017-51181-26829 (the VitisGen 2 project) of the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture. The authors are grateful for this support and for helpful comments and advice provided by Kym Anderson, Jim Lapsley, and Brad Rickard. Views expressed are the authors’ alone.


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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Agricultural and Resource EconomicsUniversity of California DavisDavisUSA

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