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Grape Varieties

Grape Varieties

The major varieties of grapes are of two types, white/green and red grapes. According to Bible, the person who planted grapes first was Noah. While according to history, Columbus brought vines of grapes while voyaging to Haiti. Let's read more about what are the different varieties of grapes along with its cultivators in this Tastessence article.
Vaishali Satwase
'Grape varieties' refers to the types of grapes that are cultivated and maintained from the natural species of grape plants. European countries like South America, Austria, Mexico, and other eastern countries are the major grape producing countries in the world.

Grape is a juicy fruit found in a variety of colors i.e. purple, white, red, or green. It is a type of berry used for eating, making wine, and also as a dry fruit. You can also prepare jelly, vinegar, candy, grape seed extract and seed oil and jam from grapes. The origin of grape comes from the ancient Vitis Vinifera and Vitis Labrusca regions. The Mediterranean region, southwestern Asia, Spain and central Europe are the Vitis Vinifera regions which cultivate European or wine grapes. American grapes originated from the Vitis Labrusca, and are found in Canada and the eastern United States. The main purpose of cultivating grapes is to prepare wine.

What are the Different Grape Varieties?

The major grape varieties are divided into two, white and red grapes. White grapes are also called Green grapes. Here is the list of types of grapes along with the name of the producing countries and the type of wine prepared from them.

Red Grapes - Grapes that are red, purple, light pink, dark blue, or black in color are grouped into red grapes.

Merlot: (dark blue-colored grapes) Merlot grapes are cultivated along with Cabernet Sauvignon grapes. They are suitable for Bordeaux wine. If you are a chocolate lover, a wine made from Merlot grapes will be a good option, since it gives chocolate savor. California, Washington, Long Island are the cultivators of Merlot grapes.

Cabernet Sauvignon: (red) These grapes are small and red in color are cultivated in Australia and California. When you mix Cabernet Sauvignon grapes with Merlot grapes, you will get Red Wine, it tastes like blackberries.

Syrah: (dark purple-black in color) Syrah, also called Shiraz grapes in Australia, alike other grapes, Syrah grapes too are used in preparing wines in tannin. These grapes are found in the Rhone Valley in France.

Some other varieties of red grapes are Lagrein, Rosenmuskateller, St. Magdalener, Kalterersee Auslese, Edelvernatsch (schiava), Südtiroler Merlot Rosé, Blauburgunder, etc.

White Grapes Light-yellow, golden, amber, light green-colored grapes are grouped into white grapes.

Weissburgunder (Pinot blanc): (light yellow) Weissburgunder grapes are the mutation of Pinot Gris grapes. These grapes taste like chardonnay grapes. The major countries that cultivate Weissburgunder grapes are Italy, Alsace, and Austria.

Chenin Blanc: (light green) France is one of the largest producers of Chenin Blanc grapes. The wine made by these grapes is known as a viscous wine due to its high acidity.

Riesling: (golden to amber) Riesling grapes are the 'grapes of Germany' used to prepare Ice Wine. Warm climate is the optimum necessity for growing these grapes. Apart from Germany, Riesling plants are planted in France, New York, and California.

Chardonnay: (white/golden-green) These white types of grapes taste like peach and melon. Chardonnay grapes can be cultivated in different climate and are used for preparing Champagne. A small amount of oak chips are added with Chardonnay grapes in winemaking. California, south Africa, France, etc., are the countries known for producing Chardonnay grapes.

Sylvaner: (light-green) The wine made from Sylvaner grapes is available in two flavors, floral and light spice. Alsace and Germany are the most famous countries which cultivate these grapes.

Gewürztraminer: (dark pink to light red) The wine prepared from this plant is the most aromatic and white in color. The cultivators of Gewürztraminer grapes are Columbia, New Zealand, Northern Italy, Austria, Germany, etc.

Other varieties of white grapes include Sauvignon, Muller-Thurgau, Goldmuskateller, Grauburgunder (pinot gris), etc.

Now let's take a look at some of the interesting facts about grapes.
  • Historians predicted that the first grape fruits grown in the world were by the Greeks and Turks.
  • European countries cultivated grapes as the most refreshing fruit, mainly used for preparing wine.
  • Generally, juices are prepared from the variety of Vitis labrusca/fox grapes because these grapes have a loose skin that can be easily peeled off.
  • Vitis vinifera, tight-skinned grapes can be used in wine production.
  • It has been figured out that about 27% of the grapes all over the world are used as fresh fruit, 71% grapes are used for wine making, and remaining 2% are used in the form of a dry fruit.
  • 100 gram of grapes contains a large nutritional value, grapes are a rich source of carbohydrates 18.1 g, protein 0.72 g, fats 0.16 g and free of cholesterol.
Thus, the grape varieties are not only varied, but also have multiple dimensions in terms of health benefits.

Remember, the Arctic didn't have any ice. And the Northwest Passage was wide open. They were raising grapes in Scotland for God sakes, had a huge winery. Iceland was a farming community. As some of the glaciers retreated they found villages that were covered with ice. - Don Young