Palomino is a white wine grape varietal - historically linked with and widely planted in Spain (particularly in the Jerez region). Best known for its key role in the production of Sherry. Palomino has 3 sub-varietals: Palomino Fino, Palomino Basto, and Palomino de Jerez - with Palomino Fino by far the most important grape varietal for quality Sherry wines.
The resulting wine is low in both acidity and sugar which, making it ideal for Sherry, but it also means that table wines made can be low quality, unless fruit acid is added.
In France it is known as Listan, and in South Africa it is called Fransdruif meaning White French. The grape is also planted in Australia and New Zealand where it is typically used to produce 'fortified' wine styles.

 

The wine 'must' has a tendency to oxidize quickly, a characteristic that can be ignored when used for Sherry production. Approximately 95% of the grapes grown for Sherry are Palomino. As a varietal table wine, the Palomino grape generally produces a wine with very bland palate characteristics.
The Albariza soil is the best for growing the Palomino grape, and by law 40% of the grapes making up Sherry must come from Albariza soil. The Barros and Arenas soil are mostly used for Pedro Ximénez and Moscatel grapes - both used exclusively for sweet Sherry.
Palomino originated in the Andalusia region of southern Spain - and was supposedly named after one of King Alfonso X's knights. It is high yielding, producing about 80 hl/ha without irrigation and can reach as much as 150 hl/ha. Harvested in early September, the 'must' from the first pressing, the 'primera yema', is used to produce Fino and Manzanilla and the 'must' from the second pressing, the 'segunda yema' used for Oloroso; any additional pressings is used for lesser wines, distillation and vinegar.
The 'must' is then fermented in stainless steel tanks until the end of November, producing a dry white wine with 11-12% alcohol. The Palomino grape covers approximately 28,000 hectares throughout Spain. At one point in time, Palomino Fino was one of 100 different grape varietals used in Sherry wine production.