Vineyards in the EU - statistics
Data extracted in October 2017
Planned up date: March 2022
(collection of data done every five years)
In 2015, vines were grown on 3.2 million hectares in the EU, representing around 45 % of the world’s total area under vines.
The total area under vines in the EU was 3.2 million ha in 2015, representing 1.8 % of the total utilised agricultural area.
Spain, France and Italy were the main wine-growers in the EU in 2015, with close to three quarters of the total EU area under vines (74.1 %) and two fifths of the holdings (39.2 %).
Vines were grown in the EU on 3.2 million hectares in 2015. The EU represented around 45 % of the world’s total area under vines . This article describes the vineyards in the European Union (EU) in 2015. The structural statistics on vineyards is a tool for monitoring the market of wine and other grape-based products and are collected every 5 years. The data collection covers the area under vines, the number of wine-grower holdings as well as other indicators such as the size class of the wine-grower holding, the main vine varieties and age of vines.
Only EU Member States having a minimum planted area of 500 hectares (ha) of vineyards are included in the data collection. This means that a total of 17 EU Member States are covered  representing 99.97 % of total area under vines in the EU. Holdings producing exclusively table grapes are excluded from this data collection.
The total area under vines in the EU was 3.2 million ha in 2015. It represented 1.8 % of the total utilised agricultural area (UAA) in the EU.
Spain, France and Italy were the main wine-grower Member States in 2015, with close to three quarters of the total EU area under vines (74.1 %) and two fifths of the holdings (39.2 %).
The red main varieties covered slightly more than half of the total area under main varieties (52.7 %) and the white varieties 42.7%. Vines producing for quality wines dominated the EU vineyards: 83.1 % of the area was dedicated to their production.
The vines in the EU are relatively old: 40.7% of the area was covered at least 30 year old vines and an additional 37.1% by vines between 10 and 29 years old.
3.2 million hectares of vineyards in the EU
In 2015, the EU had approximately 3.2 million ha of area under vines. There were 17 large scale wine grower Member States. Three Member States — Spain, France and Italy — made up close to three quarters (74.1 %) of the EU area under vines (see Figure 1). Portugal, Romania, Greece and Germany were the next largest producers with a total share of 18.2 %. Hungary, Bulgaria, Austria, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Slovenia and Slovakia followed. Cyprus, the United Kingdom and Luxembourg each had less than 8000 ha of area under vines (0.3 % of the total area under vines). Contrary to the previous data collection, in 2015 Malta was below the reporting threshold for structural vineyard data collection with 450 ha of vines.
All the NUTS 2 regions with over 8 % of the utilised agricultural area under vines were located in the France, Spain, Portugal and Greece with the exception of the German region of Rheinland-Pfalz (NUTS 1) and the Austrian region of Wien (see Map 1).
2.5 million wine-grower holdings in the EU
2.5 million agricultural holdings were growing vines according to the 2015 data collection. More than one third (34.4 %, corresponding to 0.9 million holdings) were located in Romania alone, indicating a small average area under vines per holding. Spain (0.5 million or 20.8 %) and Italy (0.4 million or 15.3 %) made up for another third of the EU wine-grower holdings (see Table 1 and Figure 2).
The average vineyard area per holding in the EU was 1.3 ha. The largest holdings were in France where more than 0.8 million ha of vineyards were spread among less than 80 000 agricultural holdings, resulting in an average of 10.5 ha of vineyards per holding. The smallest average vineyard area per holding were reported in Romania (0.2 ha), Croatia (0.4 ha), Slovenia (0.5 ha), Greece (0.6 ha) and Cyprus (0.6 ha); a strong contrast with the situation in France. The other Member States reported areas per holding between 0.9 ha (Portugal) and 4.0 ha (Luxembourg) (see Figure 3).
In Slovakia, France, Czech Republic, Bulgaria, Spain and Germany more than half of the area under vines were cultivated by holdings with more than 10 ha of vineyards (Figure 4). In contrast in Romania, Cyprus and Greece holdings with less than 1 ha under vines covered more than 40% of the total area under vines.
Over half of the area under vines occupied by red main varieties
The main vine varieties covered 94.4% of all area used for vines in the EU in 2015. The share of small, often regional varieties was only 5.6%. There were over 500 different 'main vine varieties'. The number of main varieties varied from 2 in Cyprus to 96 in Italy.
The red main varieties covered a larger area than white varieties (see Table 2 and Figure 5), however, it needs to be taken into account that data for some Member States are incomplete. In 2015, 52.7 % of the area under main vine varieties was occupied by red main varieties and 42.7 % by white main varieties. The red varieties dominated in 7 wine-grower Member States: Bulgaria, Greece, Spain, France, Italy, Cyprus and Portugal. White varieties domintaed in the Czech Republic, Germany, Croatia, Hungary, Austria, Slovenia and Slovakia. In Greece, a significant share of area was occupied by varieties of other colours (20.6 %), mostly the pink ‘Roditis’ variety.
In 2015, the most cultivated main red varieties in the EU were Cabernet Sauvignon (6.7% of all area under red main varieties), Garnacha tinta, Merlot noir, Bobal, Cabernet franc and Montepulciano. The most cultivated main white varieties in 2015 were Airen (16.4% of all area under white main varieties), Trebbiano toscano, Chardonnay blanc, Cayetana blanca, Trebbiano Romagnolo and Verdejo bianco.
The largest red variety Cabernet Sauvignon and the third largest Merlot noir were cultivated in a large number of countries: Cabernet in 11 Member States and Merlot in 12 Member States. Garnacha tinta, Bobal, Cabernet franc and Montepulciano were large varieties but grown in much more limited number of Member States. For the large white varieties the geographical spread was much more limited. Airen was cultivated only in Spain, Trebbiano in Italy and France and Cayetana blanca in Spain. Only Chardonnay was a commonly cultivated across the EU, in total in 12 wine-grower countries.
Older vines dominated the vineyards in the EU
In the EU the older vines dominated the vineyards . 40.7 % of the area under vines was between 10 and 29 years old, and another 37.1% older than 30 years. Very young vines (less than 3-year-old) covered 6.5 %, while 15.7 % of the area under vines belonged to the 3 to 9 years age class.
As shown in Figure 6, the share of area under vines with at least 30 years old vines varied significantly: from 22.2 % in Germany to 72.9 % in Cyprus. Very young vines (less than three years) had the highest shares of the area in France (9.7 %) and Germany (7.7 %).
Quality wines make up 83 % of the area under vines
The type of grapes the vineyards produce is classified into six different categories, as presented in Table 3 and Figures 7 and 8. Two of the categories used in the classification are considered ‘quality wine’:
- Protected designation of origin (PDO) and
- Protected geographical indication (PGI).
In 2015, 82.1 % of the EU vine area was dedicated to the production of quality wines, while 13.1 % was dedicated to table wines. In the Czech Republic, Slovenia, Austria, Germany and Luxembourg only vines for quality wines (PDO & PGI) were grown. In Hungary, Slovakia, the United Kingdom and Croatia the share of the area producing quality wines was over 90 %.
In Romania (72.1 %), Bulgaria (38.4 %) and Italy (26.2 %) the share of the area dedicated to the production of table wines was the highest. Greece was the only Member State which presented a significant area (38.5 %) for the production of raisins (dried grapes).
Decreasing trend in the area under vines from 1999 to 2009 and relatively stable general trend in 2015
The area under vines in the EU has decreased over time. The total area in the surveyed countries decreased from 3.4 million ha in 1999 to 3.2 million ha in 2009. In 2015 the total area under vines increased by 1.1 % compared with 2009, but decreased by 5.0 % compared with 1999 (see Table 4 and Figure 9) although the coverage throughout the time period increased given the EU enlargements (9 wine-grower Member States in 1999, 17 wine-grower Member States in 2009 and 2015).
From 1999 to 2009, among the nine Member States with available data, the United Kingdom was the only Member State where the area under vines increased, while in all other Member States it decreased. In Spain alone, the area under vine in 2009 was 0.4 million ha less than in 1999, which represented a decrease of 28.3 %. The decrease was not so strong in Portugal and France where the area decreased by 16.5 % and 9.8 % respectively.
From 2009 to 2015 the comparisons are more challenging as the data collection method changed in some countries. The 1999 and 2009 data collections were based on a mixture of dedicated surveys and vineyard register data, while the 2015 data collection was based on data extracted solely from the vineyard register. The general trend at EU-level seems to be relatively stable.
Source data for tables and graphs
Statistical surveys on areas under vines
European statistics on the structure and production potential of vineyards have been collected from 1979 onwards. More thorough surveys have been done every ten years (1979, 1989, 1999 and 2009) until 2009. France and Italy conducted the 2009 survey together with the agricultural census in 2010. From 2015 onwards the data are to be extracted every 5 years from the vineyard register.
Since 2011 the statistics on vineyards are covered by Regulation (EU) No 1337/2011. The first data collection under this legislation took place in 2015, and its results are presented in this article.
Previously, EU statistics on vineyards were governed by Council Regulation (EEC) No 357/79 of 5 February 1979 on statistical surveys of areas under vines.
Data production threshold – Regulation (EU) No 1337/2011 is applicable to all Member States having a minimum planted area of 500 ha of vineyards. For the variety data only the main vine varieties having an area bigger than 500 ha at national level are included. It is not necessary to report smaller areas.
The areas intended to produce solely table grapes are excluded from the vineyard data collection. If vineyards produce dual purpose grapes ( e.g. for wine and table use) they are included in the Vineyard survey.
Area under vines includes areas:
- in production;
- not yet in production;
- area producing material for vegetative propagation of vines.
The area does not include abandoned areas which are no longer in production and have not been harvested for at least eight years.
Other utilised agricultural area (other than under vines) is not taken into account for size classification.
Protected designation of origin (PDO) designates the name of a product which must be produced within a determined geographical area using recognised and recorded know-how. All products with PDO status must be produced exclusively with grapes from the area in question.
Protected geographical indication (PGI) designates a product with a quality, reputation or other specific features that can be attributed to a determined geographical area. All products with PGI status must be produced with at least 85 % of the grapes coming from the area in question.
Planting year means the first year when the plant has vegetative development after the day when it is installed on its definitive production place.
Structural statistics on vineyards serve for monitoring the market of grape-based and wine products. The Commission needs information on the production potential of vineyards in order to ensure that the Common Agricultural Policy is properly administered.
The main institutional users of vineyards data are DG Agriculture and Rural Development, DG Health and Consumers, DG Environment, the European Parliament, the Court of Auditors and European agencies (e.g. European Environment Agency, European Food Security Agency), as well as national bodies dealing with agriculture, food production, trade in agricultural products and food prices. Economic and social players in the ‘agricultural world’ (enterprises, farms, producer and consumer associations, trade unions, consultancy bodies, private and public research bodies, insurance agencies, etc.) are likewise very important users of vineyard statistics.
The Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) includes provisions for the wine sector. As of 2016, in the wine sector, the planting rights system was replaced by a dynamic planting-authorisation management mechanism. More information can be found on DG AGRI’s site: ‘The reforms of the EU wine market.’
- Agriculture (agri), see:
- Structure of orchards and vineyards (orch_vit)
- Vineyard (vit)
- Agriculture, forestry and fishery statistics — 2017 edition (Statistical book)
- Agriculture, forestry and fishery statistics — 2016 edition
- Area under vines in the EU down by 15.7% between 1989 and 1999
- Regulation (EU) No 1337/2011 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 13 December 2011 concerning European statistics on permanent crops and repealing Council Regulation (EEC) No 357/79 and Directive 2001/109/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council
- Commission Regulation (EC) No 436/2009 laying down the detailed rules for the application of Council Regulation (EC) No 479/2008 as regards the vineyard register
- Belgium, Denmark, Estonia, Ireland, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, the Netherlands, Poland, Finland and Sweden are below 500 ha of vineyards threshold criteria, and therefore are not included in the data collection.
- In 2010, following the latest agricultural census, there were only 1030 ha dedicated to wine-growing area in eleven Member States which are below the threshold of 500 ha.
- In the Regulation (EC) No 1337/2011, the "Main vine varieties" are only the varieties having an area bigger than 500 ha at national level.
- Age groups are linked to main varieties.
- Protected designation of origin (PDO) designates the name of a product which must be produced within a determined geographical area using recognised and recorded know-how. All products with PDO status must be produced exclusively with grapes from the area in question.
- Protected geographical indication (PGI) designates a product with a quality, reputation or other specific features that can be attributed to a determined geographical area. All products with PGI status must be produced with at least 85 % of the grapes coming from the area in question.