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Often used as a blending grape for red wine blends, especially to deepen the color hue, Carignan is mostly planted in France, Spain, and Italy, but is also popular in New World wine regions such as California, Australia, Texas, and Washington.

Carignan is believed to trace back to Aragon, Spain, as early as the 3rd century B.C. and was then spread to Sardinia as it was under Spanish rule at that time. Today, its most significant European region is in the Languedoc region of France.

It is often the last grape to be harvested during a season due to its inability to fully ripen. This is particularly the case if the vineyard is not in a very hot climate. In 2010, three California wine-growing regions – Sonoma, Contra Costa, and Mendocino – recorded a combined 3,393 acres, proof that wineries outside of the Central Valley are expressing interest in elevating this grape.

Quick Facts

  • While today it’s considered an esteemed grape, Carignan was used in jug wines by Central California wineries during the 1970s
  • The yield for Carignan is impressive: close to 11 tons of grapes per acre
  • Carignan is second only to Merlot as the most widely planted grape throughout France

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