Also called European grape, this deciduous woody vine is native to the riversides and damp woos in the Mediterranean region including central Europe, southwestern Asia, and north Africa, and was first domesticated about 3500-3000 BC in southwest Asia.  It is a member of the Vitaceae plant family that also includes Virginia creeper.  The vines grow can grow 40-60′ long by branched tendrils and have flaky bark and heart-shaped palmate leaves with 3-7 lobes.  The leaves are 5-9″ across and have coarsely toothed margins.  Dense panicles of small greenish flowers appear in spring and give way to berries (known as grapes) that ripen in late summer to early fall.  There are between 5,000 and 10,000 varieties of grapes and they are grown mostly for wine and food.  Grape plant leaves and stems are attractive, however, and the plants can be used ornamentally and as a screen on a fence or other garden structure.  The genus name, Vitis, is the classical Latin name for the wild grape.  The specific epithet, vinifera, comes from the Latin words vinum meaning wine, and ferre, meaning to bear.Type: Woody deciduous vine

Outstanding Feature: Fruit, leaf

Form: Climbing vine

Growth Rate: Rapid

Bloom: Panicles of small greenish flowers in spring

Size: 40-60′ long

Light: Full sun

Soil: fertile, medium moist, well-drained but tolerates less if soil is well-drained; does poorly in hot humid conditions.

Hardiness: Zones 6-10

Care: High maintenance including disease and pest control, and pruning if cultivated for fruits.

Pests and Diseases: Very numerous including  anthracnose, black rot, botrytis bunch rot, crown gall, downy and powdery mildew, gray mold  and phomopsis;  flea beetle, grape berry moth, Japanese beetle, leaf hopper, leaf roller, mealy bugs, and phylloxera.

Propagation: Cuttings, buddings

Outstanding Selections: The species is rarely grown.  Major red wine  grape varieties include Merlot, Cabernet Savignon, Pinot noir, Shiraz, and Grenache; major white grape varieites include Chardonnay, Savignon blanc, Pinot gris, Pinot blanc, Riesling

Photo Credit: Wikipedia

By Karen