Unlike some items, like strawberries, where new plants are planted every year, grape vines stay in the ground for many years, and it can take two years for them to produce, he said. So there’s rarely an inclination to change varieties.
There are some specialty varieties available, like the niabell, champagne and muscat, but they account for only a tiny fraction of the total, Pandol said.
“New varieties may be slightly different, but they’re not much of a game changer,” he said.
In fact, there may be a trend back to the old standbys, like flames and sugraones, he said.
“The perception often is that the old varieties are the cat’s meow,” he said. “New is not necessarily better.”