Syrah Has Become an International Reference

Originally planted in the Drôme and then the Vaucluse departments of France, Syrah vineyards have given excellent results, even in hot climates. Syrah, which likes lean soils and hot climates, soon took to the high seas and was spread to the rest of Europe and to the New World. Outside its native France, this variety is widely planted in Australia (where it is currently the number one variety), California, South Africa, Argentina, Chile as well as in Italy and Switzerland.

Though slower to discover Syrah, wineries around the Mediterranean basin began to show interest in the variety in the late 1950s. It is now planted throughout Europe. It has been reintroduced into Greece (Macedonia) and Lebanon. New Moroccan blends include Syrah, which has already helped to make a name for several wines.

In Australia, Syrah (known as Chiraz, Shiraz or Red Hermitage) accounts for 40% of red wine production. The area planted to Syrah has increased from less than 6,000 ha in 1990 to more than 36,000 ha now.

In 1996, California had less than 600 hectares of Syrah, whereas in 2004, it had more than 6,600 hectares.

In South Africa the surface area planted to Syrah was estimated at more than 9,700 hectares in 2005.

In 1990, Argentina had about 680 hectares of Syrah, but in 2005 it had more than 11,600 ha.

In the early 1990s, there was no Syrah planted in Chile. In 2001, Chile tripled its plantings in one year to arrive at a total of about 1700 ha. By 2003, the country had 2,400 ha of Syrah.

Syrah is now found in most fine wine regions, including Italy, New Zealand, the  Valais region of Switzerland and the Yakima Valley in Washington state. Syrah has also been planted in Ontario, British Columbia, Spain, Portugal, Morocco, Tunisia, Lebanon, Mexico, Uruguay, Brazil, Germany and in Austria amongst others. In total, it is found in more than 20 countries.

Why such success? Without question, the 1980s belonged to Syrah. The Rhône Valley saw a resurgence in popularity amongst wine aficionados, to such an extent that Syrah has become something of a universal reference.

Australia has made the variety into its international calling card! It is known there as Shiraz or Red Hermitage. Other New World countries have also seen an enormous increase in popularity for this variety. New plantings are on the rise in Argentina, Chile, South Africa and California.

These data are continuously changing. If you have more exact information, please send it to us so that we can update this site, whose goal is to promote Syrah production world-wide:

Country Surface area
Year Sources
France 68 672  2006 Statistiques casier viticole informatisé (CVI)
Australia 36 526 2004 Mission Economique de Canberra
Argentina 11 678 2005 Instituto Nacional de Vitivinicultura
South Africa 9 794 2005 SAWIS (statistiques viticoles)
California 6 611 2004 Embassy of France - New York Trade Office - Wine Division
Washington 1 180 2004 Yakima Valley
Chile 2 468 2003 Catastro Viticola national
Italy 1 039 2000 Mission Agricole UBIFRANCE
Greece 285 2003 Ministère de l’Agriculture Grèce
Switzerland (Valais) 165 2005 Office Fédéral de l'Agriculture
New Zealand 225 2004  
Others (Spain, Canada, Morocco, etc.)      
TOTAL 137 643