Go native! Wine Blogging Wednesday #37 – indigenous grape varieties


Say goodbye Chardonnay and hello Falanghina! Or Romorantin! Mencia or, heck, Moschofilero! If you have just been waiting to venture off the beaten path, now is your chance to try an obscure grape variety from it’s homeland! The justification is the 37th edition of the internet wine juggernaut known as Wine Blogging Wednesday and our theme is to “go native” and try an indigenous grape variety!

Italy alone claims to have 2,000 of them. Spain has many, Portugal maybe even more. Greece is a hotbed of all things ancient, including some grape varieties that are coming back. And even the good ol’ USA has Norton and Scuppernong!

So here is your assignment, should you chose to accept it: sometime between now and September 12, pick a wine made from a grape variety that comes from a place it might call home. Taste it and write up a tasting note (our translators are standing by for foreign language contributions!) on your blog on that day mentioning your involvement in WBW and linking here if you choose. If you don’t have a blog but would still like to participate, then feel free to email me your notes. Then I will round up all the posts and notes, linking back to you, and we will have a giant list of wines from off the beaten path that are hopefully fun and delicious.

Some suggestions, prohibitions and outrageous bonus points opportunities:

France is the homeland to many grapes, so if you decide to venture there, skip the big six grapes (Riesling, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Pinot Noir) since we’re trying new stuff. That still leaves plenty of things to try from la belle France.

There are many resources available to find out more about grape varieties. Appellation America has a witty, pictorial guide. Steve De Long has his beautiful Wine Grape Varietal Table (for a quick and dirty list, check his Wine Century Club form). And with a regional focus, the current issue of Food & Wine has a story by Ray Isle on “12 (Italian) grapes that are essential to know.” Feel free to post links to more resources in the comments.

Major bonus points will be given for either of two things. First, to anyone who drinks said wine IN the place where it is grown. Second, if you pair a grape from two growing areas including the ancestral home AND a new home (e.g. malbec from Cahors and Mendoza) you will win even bigger bonus points. Just what these bonus points accumulate to has not been decided and, like airline miles, they are susceptible to devaluation at any time. (Bonus points will probably be some form of additional bolding, gold stars and heaps of respect and admiration.)

So happy tasting and I look forward to your notes on September 12!


Related Posts with Thumbnails

68 Responses to “Go native! Wine Blogging Wednesday #37 – indigenous grape varieties”

  1. […] on over to this month’s host, Dr. Vino for the full […]

  2. How about hybrid grapes that are a mix of American native vines and European varieties?

    There are several that have been developed here in Minnesota, for example, that are just now coming on the market such as La Crescent, Frontenac Gris and Frontenac.

    I think they are at least in the spirit of your theme, anyway 😉

  3. With the Prius, hybrids are all the rage. I say go for it!

  4. Portugal and Spain have very similar amounts of “native” varietals, both clocking in in the 200’s…but the interesting part is that Spain is many times larger than Portugal!

    Fun theme, expect many wines tasted from Catavino for this one…

  5. […] Lenn gets back in shape to finish the summary of our last event, the good Dr. Vino has prescribed indigenous grape varieties for the next round on September […]

  6. And even the good ol’ USA has Norton and Scuppernong!

    Indeed! And I just picked up a basket of ghd globe-like thick-skinned Scuppernongs at Whole Foods this afternoon. Not sure I’ll be able to vint it by your deadline, though…

  7. Mark – That could be an interesting pairing for bonus point action: eat the grapes WHILE drinking a wine made from that grape variety! Are you up to trying some Scuppernong wine?

  8. Doc:
    I’ll see what I can do. I sampled Scuppernong wine at a North Carolina winery (Childress, I believe) a few weeks ago, and wasn’t wowed. It was pleasant enough (semi-sweet), but I’m not sure I’m ready to drop $12-15 to revisit the pleasure.

  9. Whoa! $12 – $15 per bottle for such a high-yielding variety! And from such a, um, up-and-coming terroir as North Carolina! I can understand your reluctance! Maybe there will be a free in-store tasting somewhere…

  10. Very exciting… looking forward to doing the research and treasure hunt almost as much as the tasting! Good idea for this month.

    Stacy Nelson,
    The Original Wino

  11. I have been writing about South West France as of late – expect one of these, plus the bonus. I will fly to NYC in November to collect…

  12. […] exactly what I look for when I’m on vacation.  I am also trying to decide on a wine for Wine Blogging Wednesday #37, for which the theme is “indigenous grape varieties.”  The idea is to find a wine made […]

  13. Great theme, Dr. V. I’m headed to Southern France for this one I think–but I promise not to drink one of the big varietals!

  14. Thanks for the mention!

    I use the term big six grapes often but it seems time for a revamp, or at least expand them to include Syrah, Gamay, Grenache, Sangiovese, Tempranillo, Pinot Gris/Pinot Grigio, Muscat Blanc and Zinfandel/Primitivo. The big 14?

  15. Joe – Great! Hope it goes well. I’ll get the bonus printing machine ready…

    Dr. Debs – make that two for SW France, eh?

    Steve – Indeed, the list is getting bigger than the “big six” — I was thinking about adding syrah to the list but thought there might be someone out there wanting to compare a Cornas with an Aussize shiraz–and that would be a posting I’d like to read, so I left it in.

    As to the others you suggest, I’m not sure they are Division I yet (with the exception of Grenache). I’ll only agree to expand it if we continue to call it the “big six” kinda like the Big Ten college division that has eleven teams…

  16. How do you define indigenous? Most vines come from somewhere else, after all, if you go far enough back. There’s some evidence that Roussane is indigenous to the Savoie, not to the Southern Rhone.

    Do you just mean unusual? 🙂

  17. Hi Derrick,

    Thanks for the question! I got the term “indigenous” since it’s easier to say than “autochthonous,” a term frequently used to describe the some 2,000 Italian grape varieties that fall under that category.

    I suppose we could trace all grape vines back to one root (in Africa?!?) but the spirit of the event is just to pick one from a region that has a reasonable claim of being an ancestral home to that grape.

    And don’t forget that you can always double up and do the bonus point option! I look forward to your tasting notes!

  18. I recently opened this wine blog mostly in italian but with some english translated notes and posts…and with video content with my video wine tasting with english subtitles. I am going to partecipate this Wine Blogging Wednesday with a indigenous tuscan grape like Trebbiano from Capezzana or a red like Ciliegiolo from Maremma.
    Which is the grape that are you more interested in?!?

  19. Andrea,

    Whichever one you prefer! Or both!

  20. ok i will go for trebbiano di capezzana…one of the most intense white wine we havce in italy and it’s not so common to find a really good tuscan white wine!

  21. Hello,

    Great topic Dr. Vino; I have a rack partially dedicated to a thick skinned hardy native grape that many say is indigenous to Virginia soil. Many local wineries I visit produce it, thus I’m able to taste and buy at the source. Guess I just gave my grape variety up; sounds fun! I will blog on one dry, and another late harvest selection.

    Happy Sipping!


  22. […] your horizons beyond the big 10, please take a look at this month’s Wine Blogging Wednesday – Go native! indigenous grape varieties moderated by Dr. […]

  23. Breaking news. . .

    Based on new info, here’s the big 10 grape varieties. Sorry but Grenache didn’t make it:

  24. Steve –

    Glad this has made you fire up the old blog motor again!

    Re: big ten, I thought we were talking about quality, not quantity! 😉

  25. creak, creak . .

    As Andy Warhol used to say: “quantity has a quality all itself” Whatever the hell that means.

  26. […] Blogging Wednesday No. 37 is almost here, and it’s a great one. Dr. Vino has asked us to explore “indigenous” varietals. No  Cab Sauv, no Chard, etc. Garganega, Albariño, those would […]

  27. […] a hard time keeping my mind on anything but Noe today (although I am working on a rocking entry for Wine Blogging Wednesday . . . stay tuned). So rather than fight it, I’m just going to share this moment […]

  28. […] That’s right, I’ve chosen the theme of indigenous grape varieties for this month’s theme. So you still have a week left to select, drink and write a brief tasting note about your wine made from an indigenous grape variety. Bonus points are available for those who drink said wine actually IN the region and even more bonus points can be yours if you do a comparison between old and new. The “big six” grape varieties are banned. Get the whole scoop in the original announcement. […]

  29. […] Reminders! Wine Blog Wednesday #37 is coming up quick. On September 12th, this coming Wednesday, you need to find a wine made from an […]

  30. […] out of me, phonetically speaking. But with Catherine’s help, I picked out a great wine for WBW #37, which is just around the […]

  31. […] for Newbies 77 gives you some ideas on wines you might try for the September 12, 2007, installment of Wine Blogging Wednesday. Download the file directly, use the Podtrac player, or get the show via […]

  32. […] was inspired, but then forgot… until this month’s Wine Blog Wednesday was announced. The focus is on indigenous grapes, which reminded me how important “location, […]

  33. Mine’s up!

  34. […] we are for my first WineBloggingWednesday ever! The wine I choose for the DrVino readers is Trebbiano IGT Toscana 2003 from Tenuta di […]

  35. mine’s up too!
    from tuscany…

  36. […] mission for this edition of Wine Blogging Wednesday was to pick a wine from a region, made from a typical grape from that same region. Bonus points […]

  37. […] Alexander Valley noodling this month’s challenge for Wine Blogging Wednesday—to write about an indigenous grape variety. At first, my thoughts went far afield to the unusual varietals I’ve discovered in […]

  38. […] Blogging Wednesdays for the first time, and I’m really excited about it. The theme, put on by DrVino is “Go Native.” Participants were asked to taste a wine made from an indigenous grape variety, […]

  39. […] I wanted to look long and hard for an interesting wine made from a lesser-known varietal. A wine made from only one type of grape that, ideally, is hard to pronounce and comes from deep in the hills of Spain, or Greece, or maybe even Vermont. But then I scratched Vermont off my list because their wines seem to come from apples rather than grapes. So instead, I focused on Spain and went in search of a wine that was new to me and true to the spirit of Wine Blogging Wednesday #37: Go Native! […]

  40. Goodmorning, I’m not sure if I do this the right way, but I have posted my ‘native grape-story’ on my blog. Greetings from the Netherlands,

  41. […] hosted by Dr. Vino, this month’s Wine Blog Wednesday asks us to taste a wine made from a native varietal, such as […]

  42. Mine is up — South African Pinotages from Rijk’s and Beyerskloof — http://www.pinotage.org

  43. Wine Blogging Wednesday: Tasting Argiolas Costera 2005…

    Drink Indigenous is this Wine Blogging Wednesday’s theme.  Well, I’m a dumbass.  I thought that the dominant varietal in this wine, Cannonau, was indiginous to Sardinia, one of the Italian islands.  Wrong!  It’s largely thought th…

  44. […] month Wine Blogging Wednesday is hosted by Tyler at Dr. Vino and the theme is Go Native, which means go with indigenous varieties.  I knew I wanted to do […]

  45. My own attempt at this – my first! – is also posted, titled, “Indigenous” varietals of Quebec:


  46. […] is my contribution for Wine Blogging Wednesday #37 – “go native.” Check this site in a couple of days for the complete roundup from around the […]

  47. Thanks, everyone for the emails and pingbacks — makes my job doing the roundup easier!

    Check back in a couple of days to see what everyone else tasted. Seems like a lot of creative tastings!

  48. I just posted a review of the 1998 Chateau Musar Blanc


  49. Got mine up, too: a Spanish sparkler with 3 native varietals in it! http://tinyurl.com/2j3zkx

  50. Mine is on French vs. Uruguayan Tannat.

  51. […] again to Dr Vino for a great theme this month. I’m looking forward to tasting some wine from Portugal when my friends Gabriella […]

  52. For WBW 37: Off the Beaten Path
    2006 Craftsman Kiralyleanyka (Hungary)
    -a new blogger venturing into new territory.

  53. Wine Blogging Wednesday #37: Go Native!…

    Kevin I have a lot going on in our family right now. It’s a minor miracle we even remembered Wine Blogging Wednesday. Luckily I purchased the wine a couple of weeks ago and had it chilled. When we arrived home…

  54. Hello, Good Dr.

    Vinilicious has tasted and reported on the two Piemonte workhorse reds: Barbera and Nebbiolo:


  55. […] I first heard the theme for this month’s Wine Blog Wednesday, I got very excited to push myself to investigate some unique varietals that I’ve been […]

  56. Mines up… I did a few different Barbera wines.

  57. Okay, we’re very late (but it’s not yet midnight on the East coast, so it’s technically still Wednesday). But here’s our post, finally!


  58. Later yet…


    Moschofilero, with tasting notes on Boutari’s 2006 vintage.

  59. Hi here’s the AVENUE VINE entry for Wbw #37



    TITLE: WBW #37 – MUKUZANI the Georgian Wine Favored by Stalin


    GRAPE: Saperavi (Saperavi X Blaufraenkisch)

    COUNTRY: Georgia, REPUBLIC of


  60. Here’s mine! (It was up yesterday, I swear!)http://tinyurl.com/2gupxl

  61. How do you feel about participating in WorldCupofWine.com? This will promote those countries that have the most popular wines. (Oh, and if you link back to your site, it will help with SEO and technorati)

  62. I sent an email but seems that everyone is posting here. So here’s mine ….

    I couldn’t find any wine from Albany Surprise (thank goodness), so tasted another obscure variety instead – unfortunately not from its creative home.

  63. Thanks again everybody for the great participation! Look for the roundup to go live on Monday…Really some great stuff that people tried!

  64. I seem to have find the way to reach you. I am reviewing 2 wines on my blog for this edition of WBW.


    London UK

  65. […] edition of Wine Blogging Wednesday, 48 bloggers around the world accepted my mission to “go native.” Each one chose a wine made from a grape variety indigenous to where it was […]

  66. […] alla mia degustazione di Trebbiano di Capezzana perchè non solo era parecchio indigeno (la missione era appunto quella di scovare vitigni autoctoni il meno diffusi possibile nel mondo) ma è stato […]

  67. […] I heard about the theme of the latest Wine Blogging Wednesday assignment, I got excited: try wine made from some region’s “indigenous” grapes – […]

  68. […] in participation and popularity. Over 40 bloggers are likely to participate in this latest event. Dr. Vino actually chose the theme for today’s event. The theme is Indigenous Grape Varietals. This was […]


Wine Maps

Recent Comments

Recent Posts

See my op-eds in the NYT
"Drink Outside the Box"
"Red, White, and Green"


Monthly Archives


Blog posts via email



Wine industry jobs


One of the “fresh voices taking wine journalism in new and important directions.” -World of Fine Wine

“His reporting over the past six months has had seismic consequences, which is a hell of an accomplishment for a blog.” -Forbes.com

"News of such activities, reported last month on a wine blog called Dr. Vino, have captivated wine enthusiasts and triggered a fierce online debate…" The Wall Street Journal

"...well-written, well-researched, calm and, dare we use the word, sober." -Dorothy Gaiter & John Brecher, WSJ

jbf07James Beard Foundation awards

Saveur, best drinks blog, finalist 2012.

Winner, Best Wine Blog

One of the "seven best wine blogs." Food & Wine,

One of the three best wine blogs, Fast Company

See more media...


Wine books on Amazon: