A Basic Guide to Wine Grapes, History, Types, and More

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A Guide to Wine Grapes

Grapes are small, round, or oval berry fruits of the flowering plant from the genus Vitis (grapevines). While they are used to make vinegar, jelly, jam, juice, and raisins, winemaking is the most widespread use. This website highlights all the fundamentals of grapes and winemaking.

The History of Grapes and Winemaking

The cultivation of grapes can be dated back 6000 to 8000 years ago in the Near East region. Interestingly, yeast, which is used in fermentation, occurs naturally on the grape berries. This is what led to the discovery of wine, one of the oldest alcoholic drinks.

There's evidence that by the 9th C, the grape was used to manufacture wine in Shiraz. Egyptian hieroglyphics also show that purple grapes were cultivated, probably for wine production and eating as well.

Types of Wine Grapes

There are many grape varietals used in the winemaking process. They can be classified into two subgroups depending on the type of wine they make.

The first type is white wine grapes, and as the name suggests, these are used to make white wine. Examples include riesling, sauvignon blanc, pinot grigio, and chardonnay.

There are also red wine grapes, and these are used to make red wines. Examples of red wine grapes include pinot noir, cabernet franc, cabernet sauvignon, and carménère.

Grape Production

According to the FAO, 71% of cultivated grapes are used for winemaking. The top grape producers by area planted are Spain, followed by France and Italy. However, China is the largest producer of grapes, commanding 16.8% of global grape production.