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Grapes Abhar-iran.JPG
"White" table grapes Table grapes on white.jpg
"White" table grapes

A grape is a fruit, botanically a berry, of the deciduous woody vines of the flowering plant genus Vitis .


Grapes can be eaten fresh as table grapes, used for making wine, jam, grape juice, jelly, grape seed extract, vinegar, and grape seed oil, or dried as raisins, currants and sultanas. Grapes are a non-climacteric type of fruit, generally occurring in clusters.

Grapes, red or green
Nutritional value per 100 g (3.5 oz)
Energy 288 kJ (69 kcal)
18.1 g
Sugars 15.48 g
Dietary fiber 0.9 g
0.16 g
0.72 g
Vitamins Quantity%DV
Thiamine (B1)
0.069 mg
Riboflavin (B2)
0.07 mg
Niacin (B3)
0.188 mg
Pantothenic acid (B5)
0.05 mg
Vitamin B6
0.086 mg
Folate (B9)
2 μg
5.6 mg
Vitamin C
3.2 mg
Vitamin E
0.19 mg
Vitamin K
14.6 μg
Minerals Quantity%DV
10 mg
0.36 mg
7 mg
0.071 mg
20 mg
191 mg
2 mg
0.07 mg
Other constituentsQuantity
Water81 g

Percentages are roughly approximated using US recommendations for adults.
Source: USDA FoodData Central


The Middle East is generally described as the homeland of grape and the cultivation of this plant began there 6,000–8,000 years ago. [1] [2] Yeast, one of the earliest domesticated microorganisms, occurs naturally on the skins of grapes, leading to the discovery of alcoholic drinks such as wine. The earliest archeological evidence for a dominant position of wine-making in human culture dates from 8,000 years ago in Georgia. [3] [4] [5]

The oldest known winery was found in Armenia, dating to around 4000 BC. [6] By the 9th century AD, the city of Shiraz was known to produce some of the finest wines in the Middle East. Thus it has been proposed that Syrah red wine is named after Shiraz, a city in Persia where the grape was used to make Shirazi wine. [7]

Ancient Egyptian hieroglyphics record the cultivation of purple grapes, and history attests to the ancient Greeks, Cypriots, Phoenicians, and Romans growing purple grapes both for eating and wine production. [8] The growing of grapes would later spread to other regions in Europe, as well as North Africa, and eventually in North America.

In 2005 a team of archaeologists concluded that some Chalcolithic wine jars, which were discovered in Cyprus in the 1930s, were the oldest of their kind in the world, dating back to 3,500 BC. [9] Moreover, Commandaria, a sweet dessert wine from Cyprus, is the oldest manufactured wine in the world, its origins traced as far back as 2000 BC. [10]

In North America, native grapes belonging to various species of the genus Vitis proliferate in the wild across the continent, and were a part of the diet of many Native Americans, but were considered by early European colonists to be unsuitable for wine. In the 19th century, Ephraim Bull of Concord, Massachusetts, cultivated seeds from wild Vitis labrusca vines to create the Concord grape which would become an important agricultural crop in the United States. [11]


Grapes are a type of fruit that grow in clusters of 15 to 300, and can be crimson, black, dark blue, yellow, green, orange, and pink. "White" grapes are actually green in color, and are evolutionarily derived from the purple grape. Mutations in two regulatory genes of white grapes turn off production of anthocyanins, which are responsible for the color of purple grapes. [12] Anthocyanins and other pigment chemicals of the larger family of polyphenols in purple grapes are responsible for the varying shades of purple in red wines. [13] [14] Grapes are typically an ellipsoid shape resembling a prolate spheroid.


Raw grapes are 81% water, 18% carbohydrates, 1% protein, and have negligible fat (table). A 100-gram (3+12-ounce) reference amount of raw grapes supplies 288 kilojoules (69 kilocalories) of food energy and a moderate amount of vitamin K (14% of the Daily Value), with no other micronutrients in significant content.


Concord is a variety of North American labrusca grape ConcordGrapes.jpg
Concord is a variety of North American labrusca grape

Most domesticated grapes come from cultivars of Vitis vinifera , a grapevine native to the Mediterranean and Central Asia. Minor amounts of fruit and wine come from American and Asian species such as:

Distribution and production

Top 20 grape producing countries in 2012. Top grapes countries producers in the world.png
Top 20 grape producing countries in 2012.

According to the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), 75,866 square kilometers of the world are dedicated to grapes. Approximately 71% of world grape production is used for wine, 27% as fresh fruit, and 2% as dried fruit. A portion of grape production goes to producing grape juice to be reconstituted for fruits canned "with no added sugar" and "100% natural". The area dedicated to vineyards is increasing by about 2% per year.

There are no reliable statistics that break down grape production by variety. It is believed that the most widely planted variety is Sultana, also known as Thompson Seedless, with at least 3,600 km2 (880,000 acres) dedicated to it. The second most common variety is Airén. Other popular varieties include Cabernet Sauvignon, Sauvignon blanc, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Grenache, Tempranillo, Riesling, and Chardonnay. [16]

Top producers of grapes for wine making, by area planted
CountryArea (km2)
Flag of Spain.svg Spain11,750
Flag of France.svg France8,640
Flag of Italy.svg Italy8,270
Flag of Turkey.svg  Turkey 8,120
Flag of the United States.svg United States4,150
Flag of Iran.svg  Iran 2,860
Flag of Romania.svg  Romania 2,480
Flag of Portugal.svg  Portugal 2,160
Flag of Argentina.svg  Argentina 2,080
Flag of Chile.svg Chile1,840
Flag of Australia (converted).svg Australia1,642
Flag of Armenia.svg  Armenia 1,459
Top grape producing countries by years
(in metric tons)
1Flag of the People's Republic of China.svg China8,038,7038,651,8319,174,2809,600,000 F
2Flag of the United States.svg United States6,629,1986,777,7316,756,4496,661,820
3Flag of Italy.svg Italy8,242,5007,787,8007,115,5005,819,010
4Flag of France.svg France6,101,5255,794,4336,588,9045,338,512
5Flag of Spain.svg Spain5,535,3336,107,6175,809,3155,238,300
6Flag of Turkey.svg  Turkey 4,264,7204,255,0004,296,3514,275,659
7Flag of Chile.svg Chile2,600,0002,903,0003,149,3803,200,000 F
8Flag of Argentina.svg  Argentina 2,181,5672,616,6132,750,0002,800,000 F
9Flag of Iran.svg  Iran 2,305,0002,225,0002,240,0002,150,000 F
10Flag of South Africa.svg  South Africa 1,748,5901,743,4961,683,9271,839,030
World 58,521,41058,292,10158,500,11867,067,128
Source: UN Food & Agriculture Organization [17] (F=FAO estimate)

Table and wine grapes

Wine grapes on the vine Wine grapes03.jpg
Wine grapes on the vine

Commercially cultivated grapes can usually be classified as either table or wine grapes, based on their intended method of consumption: eaten raw (table grapes) or used to make wine (wine grapes). While almost all of them belong to the same species, Vitis vinifera , table and wine grapes have significant differences, brought about through selective breeding. Table grape cultivars tend to have large, seedless fruit (see below) with relatively thin skin. Wine grapes are smaller, usually seeded, and have relatively thick skins (a desirable characteristic in winemaking, since much of the aroma in wine comes from the skin). Wine grapes also tend to be very sweet: they are harvested at the time when their juice is approximately 24% sugar by weight. By comparison, commercially produced "100% grape juice", made from table grapes, is usually around 15% sugar by weight. [18]

Seedless grapes

Seedless cultivars now make up the overwhelming majority of table grape plantings. Because grapevines are vegetatively propagated by cuttings, the lack of seeds does not present a problem for reproduction. It is an issue for breeders, who must either use a seeded variety as the female parent or rescue embryos early in development using tissue culture techniques.

There are several sources of the seedlessness trait, and essentially all commercial cultivators get it from one of three sources: Thompson Seedless, Russian Seedless, and Black Monukka, all being cultivars of Vitis vinifera . There are currently more than a dozen varieties of seedless grapes. Several, such as Einset Seedless, Benjamin Gunnels's Prime seedless grapes, Reliance, and Venus, have been specifically cultivated for hardiness and quality in the relatively cold climates of northeastern United States and southern Ontario. [19]

An offset to the improved eating quality of seedlessness is the loss of potential health benefits provided by the enriched phytochemical content of grape seeds (see Health claims, below). [20] [21]

Raisins, currants and sultanas

Raisins Raisins 01.jpg

In most of Europe and North America, dried grapes are referred to as "raisins" or the local equivalent. In the UK, three different varieties are recognized, forcing the EU to use the term "dried vine fruit" in official documents.

A raisin is any dried grape. While raisin is a French loanword, the word in French refers to the fresh fruit; grappe (from which the English grape is derived) refers to the bunch (as in une grappe de raisins).

A currant is a dried Zante Black Corinth grape, the name being a corruption of the French raisin de Corinthe (Corinth grape). The names of the black and red currant, now more usually blackcurrant and redcurrant, two berries unrelated to grapes, are derived from this use. Some other fruits of similar appearance are also so named, for example, Australian currant, native currant, Indian currant. [22]

A sultana was originally a raisin made from Sultana grapes of Turkish origin (known as Thompson Seedless in the United States), but the word is now applied to raisins made from either white grapes or red grapes that are bleached to resemble the traditional sultana.


Grape juice Grape Juice.jpg
Grape juice

Grape juice is obtained from crushing and blending grapes into a liquid. The juice is often sold in stores or fermented and made into wine, brandy, or vinegar. Grape juice that has been pasteurized, removing any naturally occurring yeast, will not ferment if kept sterile, and thus contains no alcohol. In the wine industry, grape juice that contains 7–23% of pulp, skins, stems and seeds is often referred to as "must". In North America, the most common grape juice is purple and made from Concord grapes, while white grape juice is commonly made from Niagara grapes, both of which are varieties of native American grapes, a different species from European wine grapes. In California, Sultana (known there as Thompson Seedless) grapes are sometimes diverted from the raisin or table market to produce white juice. [23]

Pomace and phytochemicals

Winemaking from red and white grape flesh and skins produces substantial quantities of organic residues, collectively called pomace (also "marc"), which includes crushed skins, seeds, stems, and leaves generally used as compost. [24] Grape pomace some 10-30% of the total mass of grapes crushed contains various phytochemicals, such as unfermented sugars, alcohol, polyphenols, tannins, anthocyanins, and numerous other compounds, some of which are harvested and extracted for commercial applications (a process sometimes called "valorization" of the pomace). [24] [25]


Grape cross-section Wine grape diagram en.svg
Grape cross-section

Anthocyanins tend to be the main polyphenolics in purple grapes, whereas flavan-3-ols (i.e. catechins) are the more abundant class of polyphenols in white varieties. [26] Total phenolic content is higher in purple varieties due almost entirely to anthocyanin density in purple grape skin compared to absence of anthocyanins in white grape skin. [26] Phenolic content of grape skin varies with cultivar, soil composition, climate, geographic origin, and cultivation practices or exposure to diseases, such as fungal infections.

Muscadine grapes contain a relatively high phenolic content among dark grapes. [27] [28] In muscadine skins, ellagic acid, myricetin, quercetin, kaempferol, and trans-resveratrol are major phenolics. [29]

The flavonols syringetin, syringetin 3-O-galactoside, laricitrin and laricitrin 3-O-galactoside are also found in purple grape but absent in white grape. [30]


Muscadine grape seeds contain about twice the total polyphenol content of skins. [28] Grape seed oil from crushed seeds is used in cosmeceuticals and skincare products. Grape seed oil, including tocopherols (vitamin E) and high contents of phytosterols and polyunsaturated fatty acids such as linoleic acid, oleic acid, and alpha-linolenic acid. [31] [32] [33]


Resveratrol, a stilbene compound, is found in widely varying amounts among grape varieties, primarily in their skins and seeds. [34] Muscadine grapes have about one hundred times higher concentration of stilbenes than pulp. Fresh grape skin contains about 50 to 100 micrograms of resveratrol per gram. [35]

Health claims

French paradox

Comparing diets among Western countries, researchers have discovered that although French people tend to eat higher levels of animal fat, the incidence of heart disease remains low in France. This phenomenon has been termed the French paradox, and is thought to occur from protective benefits of regularly consuming red wine, among other dietary practices. Alcohol consumption in moderation may be cardioprotective by its minor anticoagulant effect and vasodilation. [36]

Using grape leaves in cuisine (Dolma) Armenian dolma.jpeg
Using grape leaves in cuisine (Dolma)

Although adoption of wine consumption is generally not recommended by health authorities, [37] some research indicates moderate consumption, such as one glass of red wine a day for women and two for men, may confer health benefits. [38] [39] [40] Alcohol itself may have protective effects on the cardiovascular system. [41]

Grape and raisin toxicity in dogs

The consumption of grapes and raisins presents a potential health threat to dogs. Their toxicity to dogs can cause the animal to develop acute kidney failure (the sudden development of kidney failure) with anuria (a lack of urine production) and may be fatal. [42]

In religion

Christians have traditionally used wine during worship services as a means of remembering the blood of Jesus Christ which was shed for the remission of sins. Christians who oppose the partaking of alcoholic beverages sometimes use grape juice as the "cup" or "wine" in the Lord's Supper. [43]

The Catholic Church continues to use wine in the celebration of the Eucharist because it is part of the tradition passed down through the ages starting with Jesus Christ at the Last Supper, where Catholics believe the consecrated bread and wine literally become the body and blood of Jesus Christ, a dogma known as transubstantiation. [44] Wine is used (not grape juice) both due to its strong Scriptural roots, and also to follow the tradition set by the early Christian Church. [45] The Code of Canon Law of the Catholic Church (1983), Canon 924 says that the wine used must be natural, made from grapes of the vine, and not corrupt. [46]

See also


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  2. This, Patrice; Lacombe, Thierry; Thomash, Mark R. (2006). "Historical Origins and Genetic Diversity of Wine Grapes" (PDF). Trends in Genetics. 22 (9): 511–519. doi:10.1016/j.tig.2006.07.008. PMID   16872714. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2013-10-04.
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Further reading

Related Research Articles

Raisin Dried grape

A raisin is a dried grape. Raisins are produced in many regions of the world and may be eaten raw or used in cooking, baking, and brewing. In the United Kingdom, Ireland, New Zealand, and Australia, the word raisin is reserved for the dark-colored dried large grape, with sultana being a golden-colored dried grape, and currant being a dried small Black Corinth seedless grape.

Concord grape Dark blue or purple grape cultivar

The Concord grape is a cultivar derived from the grape species Vitis labrusca that are used as table grapes, wine grapes and juice grapes. They are often used to make grape jelly, grape juice, grape pies, grape-flavored soft drinks, and candy. The grape is sometimes used to make wine, particularly sacramental kosher wine. Traditionally, most commercially produced Concord wines have been finished sweet, but dry versions are possible if adequate fruit ripeness is achieved. The grape is named after the town in Massachusetts where it was developed.

<i>Vitis vinifera</i> Species of flowering plant in the grape vine family Vitaceae

Vitis vinifera, the common grape vine, is a species of flowering plant, native to the Mediterranean region, Central Europe, and southwestern Asia, from Morocco and Portugal north to southern Germany and east to northern Iran. There are currently between 5,000 and 10,000 varieties of Vitis vinifera grapes though only a few are of commercial significance for wine and table grape production.

<i>Vitis rotundifolia</i> Variety of grape

Vitis rotundifolia, or muscadine, is a grapevine species native to the southeastern and south-central United States. The growth range extends from Florida to New Jersey coast, and west to eastern Texas and Oklahoma. It has been extensively cultivated since the 16th century. The plants are well-adapted to their native warm and humid climate; they need fewer chilling hours than better known varieties, and thrive in summer heat.

Pomace Solid remains of fruit after pressing

Pomace, or marc, is the solid remains of grapes, olives, or other fruit after pressing for juice or oil. It contains the skins, pulp, seeds, and stems of the fruit.

<i>Aronia</i> Genus of plants (chokeberries)

Aronia is a genus of deciduous shrubs, the chokeberries, in the family Rosaceae native to eastern North America and most commonly found in wet woods and swamps. The genus is usually considered to contain two or three species, one of which is naturalized in Europe. A fourth form that has long been cultivated under the name Aronia is now considered to be an intergeneric hybrid, × Sorbaronia mitschurinii.

Sultana (grape) Variety of grape

The sultana is a "white", oval seedless grape variety also called the sultanina, Thompson Seedless, Lady de Coverly (England), and oval-fruited Kishmish. It is also known as İzmir üzümü in Turkey since this variety has been extensively grown in the region around İzmir. It is assumed to originate from, which later became part of the Ottoman Empire. In some countries, especially Commonwealth countries, it is also the name given to the raisin made from it or from larger seedless grapes; such sultana raisins are often simply called sultanas or sultanis. These are typically larger than Zante currants, and the Thompson variety is smaller than many seeded raisins. In the US and Canada, the name "raisin" is applied to all dried grapes, so that the breakfast cereal known as "sultana bran" in Australia, New Zealand, and the United Kingdom is called raisin bran in the United States and Canada.

Norton (grape) Variety of grape

Norton, a grape cultivar believed to be largely derived from Vitis aestivalis, is grown in the Midwestern United States, Mid-Atlantic States, northeastern Georgia, and, most recently, in California. Norton was first cultivated in Richmond, Virginia, and is the official grape of the State of Missouri and is considered the cornerstone of the Missouri wine industry. Strong evidence indicates that Dr. Daniel Norton first purveyed the Norton cultivar during the early 19th century from his vineyards in Virginia, USA. Further evidence has been reported that Dr. Norton developed the cultivar from seeds from a now extinct variety with unconfirmed parentage, Bland, pollinated by a Vitis Aestivalis grapevine. In 2009, Riedel designed stemware specifically for wine made from the Norton grape. The glass was unveiled at Les Bourgeois Winery near Columbia, Missouri.

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The açaí palm, Euterpe oleracea, is a species of palm tree (Arecaceae) cultivated for its fruit, hearts of palm, leaves, and trunk wood. Global demand for the fruit has expanded rapidly in the 21st century, and the tree is cultivated for that purpose primarily.

Grape juice Drink made from grapes

Grape juice is obtained from crushing and blending grapes into a liquid. In the wine industry, grape juice that contains 7–23 percent of pulp, skins, stems and seeds is often referred to as must. The sugars in grape juice allow it to be used as a sweetener, and fermented and made into wine, brandy, or vinegar.

Outline of wine Overview of and topical guide to wine

The following outline is provided as an overview of and topical guide to wine

Proanthocyanidins are a class of polyphenols found in a variety of plants such as blueberry. Chemically, they are oligomeric flavonoids. Many are oligomers of catechin and epicatechin and their gallic acid esters. More complex polyphenols, having the same polymeric building block, form the group of tannins.


Anthocyanins are water-soluble vacuolar pigments that, depending on their pH, may appear red, purple, blue, or black. In 1835, the German pharmacist Ludwig Clamor Marquart gave the name Anthokyan to a chemical compound that gives flowers a blue color for the first time in his treatise “Die Farben der Blüthen”. Food plants rich in anthocyanins include the blueberry, raspberry, black rice, and black soybean, among many others that are red, blue, purple, or black. Some of the colors of autumn leaves are derived from anthocyanins.

Phenolic content in wine

The phenolic content in wine refers to the phenolic compounds—natural phenol and polyphenols—in wine, which include a large group of several hundred chemical compounds that affect the taste, color and mouthfeel of wine. These compounds include phenolic acids, stilbenoids, flavonols, dihydroflavonols, anthocyanins, flavanol monomers (catechins) and flavanol polymers (proanthocyanidins). This large group of natural phenols can be broadly separated into two categories, flavonoids and non-flavonoids. Flavonoids include the anthocyanins and tannins which contribute to the color and mouthfeel of the wine. The non-flavonoids include the stilbenoids such as resveratrol and phenolic acids such as benzoic, caffeic and cinnamic acids.

Wine color

The color of wine is one of the most easily recognizable characteristics of wines. Color is also an element in wine tasting since heavy wines generally have a deeper color. The accessory traditionally used to judge the wine color was the tastevin, a shallow cup allowing one to see the color of the liquid in the dim light of a cellar. The color is an element in the classification of wines.

<i>epsilon</i>-Viniferin Chemical compound

ε-Viniferin is a naturally occurring phenol, belonging to the stilbenoids family. It is a resveratrol dimer.

Thomcord Grape varietal

Thomcord is a seedless table grape variety and a hybrid of the popular Thompson Seedless or Sultanina grape and Concord grape. Thomcord was developed in 1983 by Californian grape breeders working for the Agricultural Research Service (ARS), an agency of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), as part of a test to better understand a new seedless grape breeding procedure.

Callistephin Chemical compound

Callistephin is an anthocyanin. It is the 3-O-glucoside of pelargonidin.

Grape therapy, also known as ampelotherapy, is a form of naturopathic alternative medicine that involves heavy consumption of grapes, including seeds, and parts of the vine, including leaves. The concept has no scientific basis and is widely regarded as quackery.