The white grape variety originates from France. There are about 120 synonyms, which indicate its age and worldwide distribution in most wine-producing countries. The most important grouped alphabetically by country are Clevner, Clävner (Alsace); Arboisier, Arnaison Blanc, Arnoison, Aubain, Aubaine, Auvergnat Blanc, Auvernat Blanc, Auxerrois, Auxois, Beaunois, Blanc de Champagne, Chardonnet, Chaudenay, Chaudent, Epinette, Epinette Blanc, Epinette de Champagne, Gamay Blanc, Gentil Blanc, Luisant, Melon à Queue Rouge, Melon Blanc, Melon d'Arbois, Melon d'Arlay, Morillon, Morillon Blanc, Noirien Blanc, Pinot Blanc Chardonnay, Pinot de Bourgogne, Plant de Breze, Rousseau (France); Gelber Burgunder, Klawner, Weißer Ruländer (Germany); Chardonnay Bijeli (Croatia); Obaideh (Lebanon); Wais Edler, Waiser Clevner (Moldova); Morillon, Feinburgunder (Austria). It should not be confused with Aligoté, Auxerrois (Beaunois), Melon de Bourgogne, Pinot Blanc, Sacy or Traminer (Savagnin Blanc), despite seemingly suggestive synonyms or morphological similarities.
Until the end of the 19th century, Chardonnay and Pinot Blanc were often confused. As early as in 1868, Victor Pulliat (1827-1896), an ampelographer, had assumed two different varieties, and this was officially acknowledged in 1872, at least in France. In other countries one had problems much longer and considered the two as identical. In Austria, they were still recorded and shown together in the official vine variety lists until 1999. It was not until 1999 that DNA analyses finally confirmed their independence: Chardonnay is a cross between Gouais Blanc x Pinot. In Styria, Chardonnay is traditionally referred to as Morillon and is often regarded as an independent variety. Although this vine shows minor morphological differences compared to Chardonnay, it is genetically identical.