Orgins of grapes
When you’re taking that first sip of Chardonnay with dinner or deciding between a Bordeaux and a Côtes du Rhône, do you ever think about the history that’s in that little glass? Have you ever asked yourself, “Where did grapes originate?”
Hundreds of thousands of steps have had to be taken in order to get this wine to your table, the first of which, of course, involves where grapes originated.
The Asian and African Origins
Where did grapes originate? Hard to say. The first grape thongs probably originated in Asia around 5000 BC. The first cultivation of grapes was most likely in Egypt, as hieroglyphics from this region show the origin of grape cultivation and consumption.
The European Origin
The origin of grapes as an ingredient in alcohol such as wine seems to be able to be traced back to the ancient Greeks, Phoenicians and Romans, so these places are also important to consider when asking yourself, “Where did grapes originate?”
These civilizations revered the grape and its winemaking properties and quickly began to cultivate grapes. The origin of many varieties of grapes can be traced to this period, when about 90 varieties were being cultivated. The vines that were planted in the Rhine Valley, still a notable German winemaking region, were planted there in the 2nd century.
The American Origin
However, the question of where grapes originated is not nearly this simple: fruits related to grapes (belonging to the same vitis genus as modern grapes) were eaten in North America by some native groups, however these fruits were not the same as the grapes that had originated in Europe.
European settlers who saw the American version of grapes found them unsuitable for winemaking, and European travelers planted their own grapes in America as early as the 17th century, in New Mexico. Cultivators quickly relocated to California, where the climate was more suitable to winemaking, so even the New World is important when considering the question, “Where did grapes originate?”
The history of the grape is long and varied, with several geographical regions coming into play. It’s an interesting and complicated history, and one that you will certainly find interesting to ponder over your next glass of wine.