It is a vigorous and productive grape variety. It produces quality wines when its yields are small. It has a distinctive fig like aroma when made from mature fruit. For dry wines of Bordeaux it is blended with Sauvignon Blanc. When infected by the "noble rot" fungi, (Botrytis cinerea), it can be used to produce first-class sweet white wines such as those of the French Sauternes. These sweet wines will age admirably for 20 to 30 years.
In Australia, it is unblended in the Hunter's Valley, where it is known historically as the Hunter Riesling. It is also blended with Chardonnay and called SemChard.
In California there are only 2,000 acres of Semillon. Weak rootstocks are chosen to mitigate the vines inherent vigor. In extremely stressful, dry farmed soils a more vigorous rootstock may be appropriate. There are seven certified clones in France, all from Bordeaux. There are about six clones available in California.