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Grape, Grape Leaf
Latin Name:

Vitis vinifera



CTFA name:

Grape, Grape Leaf


Vitis vinifera is a deciduous woody climber with coiled climbing tendrils and large leaves.1,2  It has small, pale, green flowers in the summer followed by bunches of berry fruits that are green to purple-black in color.1,2  Grape vines can grow up to 100 feet and need support.1,3  

History and Cultural Significance

Native to South and Central Europe and Northwest Asia, there are hundreds of cultivars on all continents and islands with suitable climates.1,4  There are 6000 or more varieties of grape of which no more than 50 are commercially important.3,4  Most wine grapes and hybrids belong to V. vinifera.3  There are other Vitis species that are native to Asia, America, and South Africa.3  The leaves, stems, and fruits (including the seeds) are used.1  

Modern Research

Vitis is classical Latin for plant, vine, or branch while vinifera means wine-bearing.4  Vine comes from viere meaning to twist.5  Grape comes from the Germanic word krapfo, meaning to hook, and raisin (the dried grape) is derived from the Latin racemus, meaning bunch of grapes or berries.4  

Future Outlook

Fossilized grape leaves dating back to prehistory have been found in Europe, England, Iceland, and North America.6,7  Grapes are prominent in ancient literature and art.4  Egyptian tomb paintings from 2440 BCE show grape cultivation and the Bible mentions vineyards in the time of Noah.3  Grapes were often associated with frivolity because those who worshipped gods of wine and grape were thought to be addicted to wine, hedonism, and wild dances.4  Ancient cultures gave grape clusters to newlyweds for fertility.4  The grape vine is central to Jewish and Christian rituals.1  Wine became associated with the Christian church in the Dark Ages after the fall of the Roman Empire.4  It grew to be symbolic of the blood of Christ, became a part of communion, and monasteries started their own vineyards.4  


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22  Devi L. Market Supply Expands for Pine Bark and Grape Seed Extracts. Herb Clip. January 2, 1998 (No 120173-125). Austin, TX: American Botanical Council. Review of Pine Bark and Grape Seed Extracts Benefit from Supportive Science by Lerner M. Chemical Market Reporter, February 3, 1997;7 & 14.

23  Brunke H and Chang M. Wine Industry Profile: Overview. Available at: Accessed August 30, 2005.

24  Brunke H and Chang M. Grape Profile: Overview. Available at: Accessed August 30, 2005.

25  Ames G. Organic Grape Production: Horticulture Production Guide. Available at: Accessed August 30, 2005.