Grape

Grape

Overview
A grape is a non-climacteric
Climacteric (botany)
The climacteric is a stage of fruit ripening associated with ethylene production and cell respiration rise. Apples, bananas, melons, apricots, tomatoes are climacteric fruit. Citrus, grapes, strawberries are non-climacteric...

 fruit
Fruit
In broad terms, a fruit is a structure of a plant that contains its seeds.The term has different meanings dependent on context. In non-technical usage, such as food preparation, fruit normally means the fleshy seed-associated structures of certain plants that are sweet and edible in the raw state,...

, specifically a berry
Berry
The botanical definition of a berry is a fleshy fruit produced from a single ovary. Grapes are an example. The berry is the most common type of fleshy fruit in which the entire ovary wall ripens into an edible pericarp. They may have one or more carpels with a thin covering and fleshy interiors....

, that grows on the perennial
Perennial plant
A perennial plant or simply perennial is a plant that lives for more than two years. The term is often used to differentiate a plant from shorter lived annuals and biennials. The term is sometimes misused by commercial gardeners or horticulturalists to describe only herbaceous perennials...

 and deciduous
Deciduous
Deciduous means "falling off at maturity" or "tending to fall off", and is typically used in reference to trees or shrubs that lose their leaves seasonally, and to the shedding of other plant structures such as petals after flowering or fruit when ripe...

 woody vine
Vine
A vine in the narrowest sense is the grapevine , but more generally it can refer to any plant with a growth habit of trailing or scandent, that is to say climbing, stems or runners...

s of the genus
Genus
In biology, a genus is a low-level taxonomic rank used in the biological classification of living and fossil organisms, which is an example of definition by genus and differentia...

 Vitis
Vitis
Vitis is a genus of about 60 species of vining plants in the flowering plant family Vitaceae. The genus is made up of species predominantly from the Northern hemisphere. It is economically important as the source of grapes, both for direct consumption of the fruit and for fermentation to produce...

. Grapes can be eaten raw or they can be used for making jam, juice
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. In the wine industry, grape juice that contains 7-23 percent of pulp, skins, stems and seeds is often referred to as "must"...

, jelly, vinegar
Vinegar
Vinegar is a liquid substance consisting mainly of acetic acid and water, the acetic acid being produced through the fermentation of ethanol by acetic acid bacteria. Commercial vinegar is produced either by fast or slow fermentation processes. Slow methods generally are used with traditional...

, wine
Wine
Wine is an alcoholic beverage, made of fermented fruit juice, usually from grapes. The natural chemical balance of grapes lets them ferment without the addition of sugars, acids, enzymes, or other nutrients. Grape wine is produced by fermenting crushed grapes using various types of yeast. Yeast...

, grape seed extract
Grape seed extract
Grape seed extracts are industrial derivatives from whole grape seeds that have a great concentration of vitamin E, flavonoids, linoleic acid, and OPCs...

s, raisins, molasses
Molasses
Molasses is a viscous by-product of the processing of sugar cane, grapes or sugar beets into sugar. The word molasses comes from the Portuguese word melaço, which ultimately comes from mel, the Latin word for "honey". The quality of molasses depends on the maturity of the sugar cane or sugar beet,...

 and grape seed oil
Grape seed oil
Not to be confused with Rapeseed oil.Grape seed oil is a vegetable oil pressed from the seeds of various varieties of Vitis vinifera grapes, an abundant by-product of winemaking.- Cooking :...

. Grapes are also used in some kinds of confectionery
Confectionery
Confectionery is the set of food items that are rich in sugar, any one or type of which is called a confection. Modern usage may include substances rich in artificial sweeteners as well...

. Grapes are typically an ellipsoid shape resembling a prolate spheroid
Prolate spheroid
A prolate spheroid is a spheroid in which the polar axis is greater than the equatorial diameter. Prolate spheroids stand in contrast to oblate spheroids...

.

The cultivation of the domesticated
Domestication
Domestication or taming is the process whereby a population of animals or plants, through a process of selection, becomes accustomed to human provision and control. In the Convention on Biological Diversity a domesticated species is defined as a 'species in which the evolutionary process has been...

 grape began 6,000-8,000 years ago in the Near East
Near East
The Near East is a geographical term that covers different countries for geographers, archeologists, and historians, on the one hand, and for political scientists, economists, and journalists, on the other...

. Yeast
Yeast
Yeasts are eukaryotic micro-organisms classified in the kingdom Fungi, with 1,500 species currently described estimated to be only 1% of all fungal species. Most reproduce asexually by mitosis, and many do so by an asymmetric division process called budding...

, one of the earliest domesticated microorganism
Microorganism
A microorganism or microbe is a microscopic organism that comprises either a single cell , cell clusters, or no cell at all...

s, occurs naturally on the skins of grapes, leading to the innovation of alcoholic drinks such as wine.
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Encyclopedia
A grape is a non-climacteric
Climacteric (botany)
The climacteric is a stage of fruit ripening associated with ethylene production and cell respiration rise. Apples, bananas, melons, apricots, tomatoes are climacteric fruit. Citrus, grapes, strawberries are non-climacteric...

 fruit
Fruit
In broad terms, a fruit is a structure of a plant that contains its seeds.The term has different meanings dependent on context. In non-technical usage, such as food preparation, fruit normally means the fleshy seed-associated structures of certain plants that are sweet and edible in the raw state,...

, specifically a berry
Berry
The botanical definition of a berry is a fleshy fruit produced from a single ovary. Grapes are an example. The berry is the most common type of fleshy fruit in which the entire ovary wall ripens into an edible pericarp. They may have one or more carpels with a thin covering and fleshy interiors....

, that grows on the perennial
Perennial plant
A perennial plant or simply perennial is a plant that lives for more than two years. The term is often used to differentiate a plant from shorter lived annuals and biennials. The term is sometimes misused by commercial gardeners or horticulturalists to describe only herbaceous perennials...

 and deciduous
Deciduous
Deciduous means "falling off at maturity" or "tending to fall off", and is typically used in reference to trees or shrubs that lose their leaves seasonally, and to the shedding of other plant structures such as petals after flowering or fruit when ripe...

 woody vine
Vine
A vine in the narrowest sense is the grapevine , but more generally it can refer to any plant with a growth habit of trailing or scandent, that is to say climbing, stems or runners...

s of the genus
Genus
In biology, a genus is a low-level taxonomic rank used in the biological classification of living and fossil organisms, which is an example of definition by genus and differentia...

 Vitis
Vitis
Vitis is a genus of about 60 species of vining plants in the flowering plant family Vitaceae. The genus is made up of species predominantly from the Northern hemisphere. It is economically important as the source of grapes, both for direct consumption of the fruit and for fermentation to produce...

. Grapes can be eaten raw or they can be used for making jam, juice
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. In the wine industry, grape juice that contains 7-23 percent of pulp, skins, stems and seeds is often referred to as "must"...

, jelly, vinegar
Vinegar
Vinegar is a liquid substance consisting mainly of acetic acid and water, the acetic acid being produced through the fermentation of ethanol by acetic acid bacteria. Commercial vinegar is produced either by fast or slow fermentation processes. Slow methods generally are used with traditional...

, wine
Wine
Wine is an alcoholic beverage, made of fermented fruit juice, usually from grapes. The natural chemical balance of grapes lets them ferment without the addition of sugars, acids, enzymes, or other nutrients. Grape wine is produced by fermenting crushed grapes using various types of yeast. Yeast...

, grape seed extract
Grape seed extract
Grape seed extracts are industrial derivatives from whole grape seeds that have a great concentration of vitamin E, flavonoids, linoleic acid, and OPCs...

s, raisins, molasses
Molasses
Molasses is a viscous by-product of the processing of sugar cane, grapes or sugar beets into sugar. The word molasses comes from the Portuguese word melaço, which ultimately comes from mel, the Latin word for "honey". The quality of molasses depends on the maturity of the sugar cane or sugar beet,...

 and grape seed oil
Grape seed oil
Not to be confused with Rapeseed oil.Grape seed oil is a vegetable oil pressed from the seeds of various varieties of Vitis vinifera grapes, an abundant by-product of winemaking.- Cooking :...

. Grapes are also used in some kinds of confectionery
Confectionery
Confectionery is the set of food items that are rich in sugar, any one or type of which is called a confection. Modern usage may include substances rich in artificial sweeteners as well...

. Grapes are typically an ellipsoid shape resembling a prolate spheroid
Prolate spheroid
A prolate spheroid is a spheroid in which the polar axis is greater than the equatorial diameter. Prolate spheroids stand in contrast to oblate spheroids...

.

History


The cultivation of the domesticated
Domestication
Domestication or taming is the process whereby a population of animals or plants, through a process of selection, becomes accustomed to human provision and control. In the Convention on Biological Diversity a domesticated species is defined as a 'species in which the evolutionary process has been...

 grape began 6,000-8,000 years ago in the Near East
Near East
The Near East is a geographical term that covers different countries for geographers, archeologists, and historians, on the one hand, and for political scientists, economists, and journalists, on the other...

. Yeast
Yeast
Yeasts are eukaryotic micro-organisms classified in the kingdom Fungi, with 1,500 species currently described estimated to be only 1% of all fungal species. Most reproduce asexually by mitosis, and many do so by an asymmetric division process called budding...

, one of the earliest domesticated microorganism
Microorganism
A microorganism or microbe is a microscopic organism that comprises either a single cell , cell clusters, or no cell at all...

s, occurs naturally on the skins of grapes, leading to the innovation of alcoholic drinks such as wine. First traces of red wine is seen in ancient Armenia
Armenia
Armenia , officially the Republic of Armenia , is a landlocked mountainous country in the Caucasus region of Eurasia...

 where apparently, to date, the oldest winery was found, dating to around 4,000 BC. By the 9th century AD the city of Shiraz
Shiraz
Shiraz may refer to:* Shiraz, Iran, a city in Iran* Shiraz County, an administrative subdivision of Iran* Vosketap, Armenia, formerly called ShirazPeople:* Hovhannes Shiraz, Armenian poet* Ara Shiraz, Armenian sculptor...

 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
Shiraz
Shiraz may refer to:* Shiraz, Iran, a city in Iran* Shiraz County, an administrative subdivision of Iran* Vosketap, Armenia, formerly called ShirazPeople:* Hovhannes Shiraz, Armenian poet* Ara Shiraz, Armenian sculptor...

 a city in Persia where the grape was used to make Shirazi wine
Shirazi wine
Shirazi wine was the wine produced around the city of Shiraz in Persia. Already by the 9th century, the city of Shiraz had established a reputation for producing the finest wine of the Middle East, and was Persia's wine capital. The export of Shirazi wine to India by European merchants in the 17th...

. Ancient Egypt
Ancient Egypt
Ancient Egypt was an ancient civilization of Northeastern Africa, concentrated along the lower reaches of the Nile River in what is now the modern country of Egypt. Egyptian civilization coalesced around 3150 BC with the political unification of Upper and Lower Egypt under the first pharaoh...

ian hieroglyphics record the cultivation of purple grapes, and history attests to the ancient Greeks, Phoenicians and Romans growing purple grapes for both eating and wine production. Later, the growing of grapes spread to Europe
Europe
Europe is, by convention, one of the world's seven continents. Comprising the westernmost peninsula of Eurasia, Europe is generally 'divided' from Asia to its east by the watershed divides of the Ural and Caucasus Mountains, the Ural River, the Caspian and Black Seas, and the waterways connecting...

, North Africa
North Africa
North Africa or Northern Africa is the northernmost region of the African continent, linked by the Sahara to Sub-Saharan Africa. Geopolitically, the United Nations definition of Northern Africa includes eight countries or territories; Algeria, Egypt, Libya, Morocco, South Sudan, Sudan, Tunisia, and...

, and eventually North America
North America
North America is a continent wholly within the Northern Hemisphere and almost wholly within the Western Hemisphere. It is also considered a northern subcontinent of the Americas...

.

Native purple grapes belonging to the Vitis genus proliferated in the wild across North America, and were a part of the diet of many North American
North American
North American generally refers to an entity, people, group, or attribute of North America, especially of the United States and Canada together.-Culture:*North American English, a collective term used to describe American English and Canadian English...

  Native Americans, but were considered by European colonists to be unsuitable for wine. The first Old World
Old World
The Old World consists of those parts of the world known to classical antiquity and the European Middle Ages. It is used in the context of, and contrast with, the "New World" ....

 Vitis vinifera purple grapes were cultivated in California
California
California is a state located on the West Coast of the United States. It is by far the most populous U.S. state, and the third-largest by land area...

.

Description


Grapes are a type of fruit
Fruit
In broad terms, a fruit is a structure of a plant that contains its seeds.The term has different meanings dependent on context. In non-technical usage, such as food preparation, fruit normally means the fleshy seed-associated structures of certain plants that are sweet and edible in the raw state,...

 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 anthocyanin
Anthocyanin
Anthocyanins are water-soluble vacuolar pigments that may appear red, purple, or blue according to pH...

s which are responsible for the color of purple grapes. Anthocyanins and other pigment
Pigment
A pigment is a material that changes the color of reflected or transmitted light as the result of wavelength-selective absorption. This physical process differs from fluorescence, phosphorescence, and other forms of luminescence, in which a material emits light.Many materials selectively absorb...

 chemicals of the larger family of polyphenols in purple grapes are responsible for the varying shades of purple in red wines.

Grapevines



Most grapes come from cultivars of Vitis vinifera
Vitis vinifera
Vitis vinifera is a species of Vitis, native to the Mediterranean region, central Europe, and southwestern Asia, from Morocco and Portugal north to southern Germany and east to northern Iran....

, the European grapevine native to the Mediterranean and Central Asia. Minor amounts of fruit and wine come from American and Asian species such as:
  • Vitis labrusca
    Vitis labrusca
    Vitis labrusca is a species of grapevines belonging to the Vitis genus in the flowering plant family Vitaceae. The vines are native to the eastern United States and are the source of many grape cultivars, including Catawba and Concord grapes, and many hybrid grape varieties such as Agawam,...

    , the North American table and grape juice grapevines (including the concord cultivar), sometimes used for wine, are native to the Eastern United States
    Eastern United States
    The Eastern United States, the American East, or simply the East is traditionally defined as the states east of the Mississippi River. The first two tiers of states west of the Mississippi have traditionally been considered part of the West, but can be included in the East today; usually in...

     and Canada
    Canada
    Canada is a North American country consisting of ten provinces and three territories. Located in the northern part of the continent, it extends from the Atlantic Ocean in the east to the Pacific Ocean in the west, and northward into the Arctic Ocean...

    .
  • Vitis riparia
    Vitis riparia
    Vitis riparia Michx, also commonly known as River Bank Grape or Frost Grape, is a native American climbing or trailing vine, widely distributed from Quebec to Texas, and Montana to New England. It is long-lived and capable of reaching into the upper canopy of the tallest trees...

    , a wild vine of North America
    North America
    North America is a continent wholly within the Northern Hemisphere and almost wholly within the Western Hemisphere. It is also considered a northern subcontinent of the Americas...

    , is sometimes used for winemaking and for jam. It is native to the entire Eastern U.S. and north to Quebec
    Quebec
    Quebec or is a province in east-central Canada. It is the only Canadian province with a predominantly French-speaking population and the only one whose sole official language is French at the provincial level....

    .
  • Vitis rotundifolia, the muscadine
    Muscadine
    Muscadines are a grapevine species native to the present-day southeastern United States that has been extensively cultivated since the 16th Century. It differs from Vitis spp. in its number of chromosomes and its morphology...

    s, used for jams and wine, are native to the Southeastern United States
    Southeastern United States
    The Southeastern United States, colloquially referred to as the Southeast, is the eastern portion of the Southern United States. It is one of the most populous regions in the United States of America....

     from Delaware
    Delaware
    Delaware is a U.S. state located on the Atlantic Coast in the Mid-Atlantic region of the United States. It is bordered to the south and west by Maryland, and to the north by Pennsylvania...

     to the Gulf of Mexico
    Gulf of Mexico
    The Gulf of Mexico is a partially landlocked ocean basin largely surrounded by the North American continent and the island of Cuba. It is bounded on the northeast, north and northwest by the Gulf Coast of the United States, on the southwest and south by Mexico, and on the southeast by Cuba. In...

    .
  • Vitis amurensis
    Vitis amurensis
    Vitis amurensis, the Amur grape, is a species of grape native to the Asian continent. Its name comes from the Amur Valley in Russia and China.It is very resistant to frost, but is not tolerant to drought...

    is the most important Asian species.

Distribution and production


According to the Food and Agriculture Organization
Food and Agriculture Organization
The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations is a specialised agency of the United Nations that leads international efforts to defeat hunger. Serving both developed and developing countries, FAO acts as a neutral forum where all nations meet as equals to negotiate agreements and...

 (FAO), 75,866 square kilometres 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
Dried fruit
Dried fruit is fruit where the majority of the original water content has been removed either naturally, through sun drying, or through the use of specialized dryers or dehydrators. Dried fruit has a long tradition of use dating back to the fourth millennium BC in Mesopotamia, and is prized...

. 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.

The following table of top wine-producers shows the corresponding areas dedicated to grapes for wine making:
Country Area dedicated
Spain 11,750 km2
France 8,640 km2
Italy 8,270 km2
Turkey 8,120 km2
United States 4,150 km2
Iran 2,860 km2
Romania 2,480 km2
Portugal 2,160 km2
Argentina 2,080 km2
Chile 1,840 km2
Australia 1,642 km2
Armenia 1,459 km2
Lebanon 1,122 km2

Top Ten Grapes Producers – 8 October 2009
Country Production (Tonne
Tonne
The tonne, known as the metric ton in the US , often put pleonastically as "metric tonne" to avoid confusion with ton, is a metric system unit of mass equal to 1000 kilograms. The tonne is not an International System of Units unit, but is accepted for use with the SI...

s)
Footnote
8,519,418 F
6,787,081 F
6,384,090 F
6,044,900 F
5,995,300 F
3,612,781 F
3,000,000 F
2,900,000 F
2,350,000 F
1,667,700 F
World 67,221,000 A
No symbol = official figure, P = official figure, F = FAOSTAT 2007, * = Unofficial/Semi-official/mirror data, C = Calculated figure, A = Aggregate (may include official, semi-official or estimates);

Source: Food And Agricultural Organization of United Nations: Economic And Social Department: The Statistical Division

There are no reliable statistics that break down grape production by variety. It is, however, believed that the most widely planted variety is Sultana
Sultana (grape)
The sultana is a type of white, seedless grape assumed to originate from the Turkish, Greek, or Iranian area...

, also known as Thompson Seedless, with at least 3,600 km2. (880,000 acres) dedicated to it. The second most common variety is Airén
Airén
Airén is a variety of Vitis vinifera, a white grape commonly used in winemaking. This grape is native to Spain where it represents about 30% of all grapes grown. As of 2004, Airén was estimated to be the world's most grown grape variety in terms of planted surface, at , although it is almost...

. Other popular varieties include Cabernet Sauvignon
Cabernet Sauvignon
Cabernet Sauvignon is one of the world's most widely recognized red wine grape varieties. It is grown in nearly every major wine producing country among a diverse spectrum of climates from Canada's Okanagan Valley to Lebanon's Beqaa Valley...

, Sauvignon blanc
Sauvignon blanc
Sauvignon Blanc is a green-skinned grape variety which originates from the Bordeaux region of France. The grape most likely gets its name from the French word sauvage and blanc due to its early origins as an indigenous grape in South West France., a possible descendant of savagnin...

, Cabernet Franc
Cabernet Franc
Cabernet Franc is one of the major black grape varieties worldwide. It is principally grown for blending with Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot in the Bordeaux style, but can also be vinified alone - as in the Loire's Chinon...

, Merlot
Merlot
Merlot is a darkly blue-coloured wine grape, that is used as both a blending grape and for varietal wines. The name Merlot is thought to derive from the Old French word for young blackbird, merlot, a diminutive of merle, the blackbird , probably from the color of the grape. Merlot-based wines...

, Grenache
Grenache
Grenache is one of the most widely planted red wine grape varieties in the world. It ripens late, so it needs hot, dry conditions such as those found in Spain, the south of France, and California's San Joaquin Valley. It is generally spicy, berry-flavored and soft on the palate with a relatively...

, Tempranillo
Tempranillo
Tempranillo is a variety of black grape widely grown to make full-bodied red wines in its native Spain. It is the main grape used in Rioja, and is often referred to as Spain's "noble grape". Its name is the diminutive of the Spanish temprano , a reference to the fact that it ripens several weeks...

, Riesling
Riesling
Riesling is a white grape variety which originated in the Rhine region of Germany. Riesling is an aromatic grape variety displaying flowery, almost perfumed, aromas as well as high acidity. It is used to make dry, semi-sweet, sweet and sparkling white wines. Riesling wines are usually varietally...

 and Chardonnay
Chardonnay
Chardonnay is a green-skinned grape variety used to make white wine. It is originated from the Burgundy wine region of eastern France but is now grown wherever wine is produced, from England to New Zealand...

.

Table and wine grapes


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
Wine is an alcoholic beverage, made of fermented fruit juice, usually from grapes. The natural chemical balance of grapes lets them ferment without the addition of sugars, acids, enzymes, or other nutrients. Grape wine is produced by fermenting crushed grapes using various types of yeast. Yeast...

 (wine grapes). While almost all of them belong to the same species, Vitis vinifera
Vitis vinifera
Vitis vinifera is a species of Vitis, native to the Mediterranean region, central Europe, and southwestern Asia, from Morocco and Portugal north to southern Germany and east to northern Iran....

, table and wine grapes have significant differences, brought about through selective breeding
Selective breeding
Selective breeding is the process of breeding plants and animals for particular genetic traits. Typically, strains that are selectively bred are domesticated, and the breeding is sometimes done by a professional breeder. Bred animals are known as breeds, while bred plants are known as varieties,...

. Table grape
Table grape
Table grapes are grapes intended for consumption while they are fresh, as opposed to grapes grown for wine production, juice production, or for drying into raisins....

 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.

Seedless grapes


Although grape seeds contain many nutrients, some consumers choose seedless grapes; seedless cultivars now make up the overwhelming majority of table grape plantings. Because grapevines are vegetatively propagated
Vegetative reproduction
Vegetative reproduction is a form of asexual reproduction in plants. It is a process by which new individuals arise without production of seeds or spores...

 by cuttings, the lack of seeds does not present a problem for reproduction. It is, however, an issue for breeders, who must either use a seeded variety as the female parent or rescue embryos early in development using tissue culture
Plant tissue culture
Plant tissue culture is a collection of techniques used to maintain or grow plant cells, tissues or organs under sterile conditions on a nutrient culture medium of known composition. Plant tissue culture is widely used to produce clones of a plant in a method known as micropropagation...

 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
Vitis vinifera
Vitis vinifera is a species of Vitis, 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 more than a dozen varieties of seedless grapes. Several, such as Einset Seedless, Reliance and Venus, have been specifically cultivated for hardiness and quality in the relatively cold climates of northeastern United States and southern Ontario
Ontario
Ontario is a province of Canada, located in east-central Canada. It is Canada's most populous province and second largest in total area. It is home to the nation's most populous city, Toronto, and the nation's capital, Ottawa....

.

An offset to the improved eating quality of seedlessness is the loss of potential health benefits provided by the enriched phytochemical
Phytochemical
Phytochemicals are biologically active chemical compounds that occur naturally in plants . Phytochemicals are the molecules responsible for the color and organoleptic properties . For example, the deep purple color of blueberries and the smell of garlic...

 content of grape seeds (see Health claims, below).

Raisins, currants and sultanas


In most of Europe, 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
Dried vine fruit
Dried vine fruit may refer to:* Sultana * Raisin* Zante currant...

" in official documents.

A raisin
Raisin
Raisins are dried grapes. They are produced in many regions of the world. Raisins may be eaten raw or used in cooking, baking and brewing...

is any dried grape. While raisin is a French loanword
Loanword
A loanword is a word borrowed from a donor language and incorporated into a recipient language. By contrast, a calque or loan translation is a related concept where the meaning or idiom is borrowed rather than the lexical item itself. The word loanword is itself a calque of the German Lehnwort,...

, 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
Zante currant
The Zante currant , or currant are dried berries of small, sweet, seedless grape variety Black Corinth . The name comes from the Anglo-French phrase "raisins de Corinthe" and the Ionian island of Zakynthos , which was once the major producer and exporter...

is a dried Zante
Zakynthos
Zakynthos , also Zante, the other form often used in English and in Italian , is a Greek island in the Ionian Sea. It is the third largest of the Ionian Islands. It is also a separate regional unit of the Ionian Islands region, and the only municipality of the regional unit. It covers an area of ...

 Black Corinth grape, the name being a corruption of the French
French language
French is a Romance language spoken as a first language in France, the Romandy region in Switzerland, Wallonia and Brussels in Belgium, Monaco, the regions of Quebec and Acadia in Canada, and by various communities elsewhere. Second-language speakers of French are distributed throughout many parts...

 raisin de Corinthe (Corinth
Corinth
Corinth is a city and former municipality in Corinthia, Peloponnese, Greece. Since the 2011 local government reform it is part of the municipality Corinth, of which it is the seat and a municipal unit...

 grape). Currant has also come to refer to the blackcurrant
Blackcurrant
Blackcurrant, Ribes nigrum, is a species of Ribes berry native to central and northern Europe and northern Asia, and is a perennial....

 and redcurrant
Redcurrant
The redcurrant , Ribes rubrum, is a member of the genus Ribes in the gooseberry family Grossulariaceae, native to parts of western Europe...

, two berries unrelated to grapes.

A sultana was originally a raisin made from Sultana
Sultana (grape)
The sultana is a type of white, seedless grape assumed to originate from the Turkish, Greek, or Iranian area...

 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 which are bleached to resemble the traditional sultana.

French Paradox


Comparing diets among Western countries, researchers have discovered that although the French tend to eat higher levels of animal fat, surprisingly the incidence of heart disease
Heart disease
Heart disease, cardiac disease or cardiopathy is an umbrella term for a variety of diseases affecting the heart. , it is the leading cause of death in the United States, England, Canada and Wales, accounting for 25.4% of the total deaths in the United States.-Types:-Coronary heart disease:Coronary...

 remains low in France. This phenomenon has been termed the French Paradox
French paradox
The French Paradox is the observation that French people suffer a relatively low incidence of coronary heart disease, despite having a diet relatively rich in saturated fats...

, and is thought to occur from protective benefits of regularly consuming red wine. Apart from potential benefits of alcohol itself, including reduced platelet
Platelet
Platelets, or thrombocytes , are small,irregularly shaped clear cell fragments , 2–3 µm in diameter, which are derived from fragmentation of precursor megakaryocytes.  The average lifespan of a platelet is normally just 5 to 9 days...

 aggregation and vasodilation
Vasodilation
Vasodilation refers to the widening of blood vessels resulting from relaxation of smooth muscle cells within the vessel walls, particularly in the large arteries, smaller arterioles and large veins. The process is essentially the opposite of vasoconstriction, or the narrowing of blood vessels. When...

, polyphenols (e.g., resveratrol
Resveratrol
Resveratrol is a stilbenoid, a type of natural phenol, and a phytoalexin produced naturally by several plants when under attack by pathogens such as bacteria or fungi....

) mainly in the grape skin provide other suspected health benefits, such as:
  • Alteration of molecular mechanisms in blood vessels, reducing susceptibility to vascular damage
  • Decreased activity of angiotensin
    Angiotensin
    Angiotensin, a peptide hormone, causes blood vessels to constrict, and drives blood pressure up. It is part of the renin-angiotensin system, which is a major target for drugs that lower blood pressure. Angiotensin also stimulates the release of aldosterone, another hormone, from the adrenal cortex...

    , a systemic hormone causing blood vessel constriction that would elevate blood pressure
  • Increased production of the vasodilator hormone, nitric oxide
    Nitric oxide
    Nitric oxide, also known as nitrogen monoxide, is a diatomic molecule with chemical formula NO. It is a free radical and is an important intermediate in the chemical industry...

     (endothelium-derived relaxing factor
    Endothelium-derived relaxing factor
    Endothelium-derived relaxing factor is produced and released by the endothelium to promote smooth muscle relaxation. The best-characterized is nitric oxide . Some sources equate EDRF and nitric oxide....

    )


Although adoption of wine consumption is not recommended by some health authorities, a significant volume of research indicates moderate consumption, such as one glass of red wine a day for women and two for men, may confer health benefits. Emerging evidence is that wine polyphenols like resveratrol
Resveratrol
Resveratrol is a stilbenoid, a type of natural phenol, and a phytoalexin produced naturally by several plants when under attack by pathogens such as bacteria or fungi....

 provide physiological benefit whereas alcohol itself may have protective effects on the cardiovascular system.

Resveratrol


Grape phytochemical
Phytochemical
Phytochemicals are biologically active chemical compounds that occur naturally in plants . Phytochemicals are the molecules responsible for the color and organoleptic properties . For example, the deep purple color of blueberries and the smell of garlic...

s such as resveratrol
Resveratrol
Resveratrol is a stilbenoid, a type of natural phenol, and a phytoalexin produced naturally by several plants when under attack by pathogens such as bacteria or fungi....

 (a polyphenol antioxidant
Polyphenol antioxidant
A polyphenol antioxidant is a type of antioxidant containing a polyphenolic substructure. Numbering over 4,000 distinct species, many of these compounds have antioxidant activity in vitro but are unlikely to have antioxidant roles in vivo...

), have been positively linked to inhibiting any cancer
Cancer
Cancer , known medically as a malignant neoplasm, is a large group of different diseases, all involving unregulated cell growth. In cancer, cells divide and grow uncontrollably, forming malignant tumors, and invade nearby parts of the body. The cancer may also spread to more distant parts of the...

, heart disease
Heart disease
Heart disease, cardiac disease or cardiopathy is an umbrella term for a variety of diseases affecting the heart. , it is the leading cause of death in the United States, England, Canada and Wales, accounting for 25.4% of the total deaths in the United States.-Types:-Coronary heart disease:Coronary...

, degenerative nerve
Nerve
A peripheral nerve, or simply nerve, is an enclosed, cable-like bundle of peripheral axons . A nerve provides a common pathway for the electrochemical nerve impulses that are transmitted along each of the axons. Nerves are found only in the peripheral nervous system...

 disease, viral
Virus
A virus is a small infectious agent that can replicate only inside the living cells of organisms. Viruses infect all types of organisms, from animals and plants to bacteria and archaea...

 infections and mechanisms of Alzheimer's disease
Alzheimer's disease
Alzheimer's disease also known in medical literature as Alzheimer disease is the most common form of dementia. There is no cure for the disease, which worsens as it progresses, and eventually leads to death...

.

Protection of the genome through antioxidant
Antioxidant
An antioxidant is a molecule capable of inhibiting the oxidation of other molecules. Oxidation is a chemical reaction that transfers electrons or hydrogen from a substance to an oxidizing agent. Oxidation reactions can produce free radicals. In turn, these radicals can start chain reactions. When...

 actions may be a general function of resveratrol. In laboratory studies, resveratrol bears a significant transcriptional
Transcription (genetics)
Transcription is the process of creating a complementary RNA copy of a sequence of DNA. Both RNA and DNA are nucleic acids, which use base pairs of nucleotides as a complementary language that can be converted back and forth from DNA to RNA by the action of the correct enzymes...

 overlap with the beneficial effects of calorie restriction
Calorie restriction
Caloric restriction , or calorie restriction, is a dietary regimen that restricts calorie intake, where the baseline for the restriction varies, usually being the previous, unrestricted, intake of the subjects...

 in heart
Heart
The heart is a myogenic muscular organ found in all animals with a circulatory system , that is responsible for pumping blood throughout the blood vessels by repeated, rhythmic contractions...

, skeletal muscle
Skeletal muscle
Skeletal muscle is a form of striated muscle tissue existing under control of the somatic nervous system- i.e. it is voluntarily controlled. It is one of three major muscle types, the others being cardiac and smooth muscle...

 and brain
Brain
The brain is the center of the nervous system in all vertebrate and most invertebrate animals—only a few primitive invertebrates such as sponges, jellyfish, sea squirts and starfishes do not have one. It is located in the head, usually close to primary sensory apparatus such as vision, hearing,...

. Both dietary interventions inhibit gene expression
Gene expression
Gene expression is the process by which information from a gene is used in the synthesis of a functional gene product. These products are often proteins, but in non-protein coding genes such as ribosomal RNA , transfer RNA or small nuclear RNA genes, the product is a functional RNA...

 associated with heart and skeletal muscle aging, and prevent age-related heart failure.

Resveratrol is the subject of several human clinical trial
Clinical trial
Clinical trials are a set of procedures in medical research and drug development that are conducted to allow safety and efficacy data to be collected for health interventions...

s, among which the most advanced is a one year dietary regimen in a Phase III study of elderly patients with Alzheimer's disease
Alzheimer's disease
Alzheimer's disease also known in medical literature as Alzheimer disease is the most common form of dementia. There is no cure for the disease, which worsens as it progresses, and eventually leads to death...

.

Synthesized by many plants, resveratrol apparently serves antifungal
Antifungal drug
An antifungal medication is a medication used to treat fungal infections such as athlete's foot, ringworm, candidiasis , serious systemic infections such as cryptococcal meningitis, and others...

 and other defensive properties. Dietary resveratrol has been shown to modulate the metabolism of lipid
Lipid
Lipids constitute a broad group of naturally occurring molecules that include fats, waxes, sterols, fat-soluble vitamins , monoglycerides, diglycerides, triglycerides, phospholipids, and others...

s and to inhibit oxidation of low-density lipoproteins and aggregation of platelet
Platelet
Platelets, or thrombocytes , are small,irregularly shaped clear cell fragments , 2–3 µm in diameter, which are derived from fragmentation of precursor megakaryocytes.  The average lifespan of a platelet is normally just 5 to 9 days...

s.

Resveratrol is found in wide amounts among grape varieties, primarily in their skins and seeds which, in muscadine
Muscadine
Muscadines are a grapevine species native to the present-day southeastern United States that has been extensively cultivated since the 16th Century. It differs from Vitis spp. in its number of chromosomes and its morphology...

 grapes, have about one hundred times higher concentration than pulp. Fresh grape skin contains about 50 to 100 micrograms of resveratrol per gram.

Anthocyanins and other phenolics



Anthocyanins tend to be the main polyphenolics in purple grapes whereas flavan-3-ol
Flavan-3-ol
Flavan-3-ols are a class of flavonoids that use the 2-phenyl-3,4-dihydro-2H-chromen-3-ol skeleton. These compounds include the catechins and the catechin gallates....

s (i.e. catechins) are the more abundant phenolic in white varieties. Total phenolic content, a laboratory index of antioxidant strength, is higher in purple varieties due almost entirely to anthocyanin density in purple grape skin compared to absence of anthocyanins in white grape skin. It is these anthocyanins that are attracting the efforts of scientists to define their properties for human health. Phenolic content of grape skin varies with cultivar
Cultivar
A cultivar'Cultivar has two meanings as explained under Formal definition. When used in reference to a taxon, the word does not apply to an individual plant but to all those plants sharing the unique characteristics that define the cultivar. is a plant or group of plants selected for desirable...

, soil composition, climate, geographic origin, and cultivation practices or exposure to diseases, such as fungal infections.

Red wine
Wine
Wine is an alcoholic beverage, made of fermented fruit juice, usually from grapes. The natural chemical balance of grapes lets them ferment without the addition of sugars, acids, enzymes, or other nutrients. Grape wine is produced by fermenting crushed grapes using various types of yeast. Yeast...

 may offer health benefits more so than white because potentially beneficial compounds are present in grape skin, and only red wine is fermented with skins. The amount of fermentation time a wine spends in contact with grape skins is an important determinant of its resveratrol content. Ordinary non-muscadine
Muscadine
Muscadines are a grapevine species native to the present-day southeastern United States that has been extensively cultivated since the 16th Century. It differs from Vitis spp. in its number of chromosomes and its morphology...

 red wine contains between 0.2 and 5.8 mg/L, depending on the grape variety, because it is fermented
Fermentation (food)
Fermentation in food processing typically is the conversion of carbohydrates to alcohols and carbon dioxide or organic acids using yeasts, bacteria, or a combination thereof, under anaerobic conditions. Fermentation in simple terms is the chemical conversion of sugars into ethanol...

 with the skins, allowing the wine to absorb the resveratrol. By contrast, a white wine contains lower phenolic contents because it is fermented after removal of skins.

Wines produced from muscadine
Muscadine
Muscadines are a grapevine species native to the present-day southeastern United States that has been extensively cultivated since the 16th Century. It differs from Vitis spp. in its number of chromosomes and its morphology...

 grapes may contain more than 40 mg/L, an exceptional phenolic content. In muscadine skins, ellagic acid
Ellagic acid
Ellagic acid is a natural phenol antioxidant found in numerous fruits and vegetables including blackberries, raspberries, strawberries, cranberries, walnuts, pecans, pomegranates, wolfberry and other plant foods...

, myricetin
Myricetin
Myricetin is a naturally occurring flavonol, a flavonoid found in many grapes, berries, fruits, vegetables, herbs, as well as other plants. Walnuts are a rich dietary source. Trace amounts can be found as glycosides. It is one of the phenolic compounds present in red wine.Myricetin has antioxidant...

, quercetin
Quercetin
Quercetin , a flavonol, is a plant-derived flavonoid found in fruits, vegetables, leaves and grains. It also may be used as an ingredient in supplements, beverages or foods.-Occurrence:...

, kaempferol
Kaempferol
Kaempferol is a natural flavonol, a type of flavonoid, that has been isolated from tea, broccoli, Delphinium, Witch-hazel, grapefruit,cabbage, kale, beans, endive, leek, tomato, strawberries, grapes, brussels sprouts, apples and other plant sources. Kaempferol is a yellow crystalline solid with a...

, and trans-resveratrol are major phenolics. Contrary to previous results, ellagic acid and not resveratrol is the major phenolic in muscadine grapes.

The flavonols syringetin
Syringetin
Syringetin is a O-methylated flavonol, a type of flavonoid. It is found in red grape , in Lysimachia congestiflora and in Vaccinium uliginosum...

, syringetin 3-O-galactoside, laricitrin
Laricitrin
Laricitrin is a O-methylated flavonol, a type of flavonoid. It is found in red grape and in Vaccinium uliginosum . It is one of the phenolic compounds present in wine.-Metabolism:...

 and laricitrin 3-O-galactoside are also found in purple grape but absent in white grape.

Seed constituents



Since the 1980s, biochemical and medical studies have demonstrated significant antioxidant
Antioxidant
An antioxidant is a molecule capable of inhibiting the oxidation of other molecules. Oxidation is a chemical reaction that transfers electrons or hydrogen from a substance to an oxidizing agent. Oxidation reactions can produce free radicals. In turn, these radicals can start chain reactions. When...

 properties of grape seed oligomeric proanthocyanidins. Together with tannins, polyphenols and polyunsaturated fatty acids, these seed constituents display inhibitory activities against several experimental disease models, including cancer
Cancer
Cancer , known medically as a malignant neoplasm, is a large group of different diseases, all involving unregulated cell growth. In cancer, cells divide and grow uncontrollably, forming malignant tumors, and invade nearby parts of the body. The cancer may also spread to more distant parts of the...

, heart failure and other disorders of oxidative stress
Oxidative stress
Oxidative stress represents an imbalance between the production and manifestation of reactive oxygen species and a biological system's ability to readily detoxify the reactive intermediates or to repair the resulting damage...

.

Grape seed oil
Grape seed oil
Not to be confused with Rapeseed oil.Grape seed oil is a vegetable oil pressed from the seeds of various varieties of Vitis vinifera grapes, an abundant by-product of winemaking.- Cooking :...

 from crushed seeds is used in cosmeceutical
Cosmeceutical
Cosmeceuticals refers to the combination of cosmetics and pharmaceuticals. Cosmeceuticals are cosmetic products with biologically active ingredients purporting to have medical or drug-like benefits....

s and skincare products for many perceived health benefits. Grape seed oil is notable for its high contents of tocopherol
Tocopherol
Tocopherols are a class of chemical compounds of which many have vitamin E activity. It is a series of organic compounds consisting of various methylated phenols...

s (vitamin E
Vitamin E
Vitamin E is used to refer to a group of fat-soluble compounds that include both tocopherols and tocotrienols. There are many different forms of vitamin E, of which γ-tocopherol is the most common in the North American diet. γ-Tocopherol can be found in corn oil, soybean oil, margarine and dressings...

), phytosterol
Phytosterol
Phytosterols, which encompass plant sterols and stanols, are steroid compounds similar to cholesterol which occur in plants and vary only in carbon side chains and/or presence or absence of a double bond. Stanols are saturated sterols, having no double bonds in the sterol ring structure. More than...

s, and polyunsaturated fatty acid
Fatty acid
In chemistry, especially biochemistry, a fatty acid is a carboxylic acid with a long unbranched aliphatic tail , which is either saturated or unsaturated. Most naturally occurring fatty acids have a chain of an even number of carbon atoms, from 4 to 28. Fatty acids are usually derived from...

s such as linoleic acid
Linoleic acid
Linoleic acid is an unsaturated n-6 fatty acid. It is a colorless liquid at room temperature. In physiological literature, it has a lipid number of 18:2...

, oleic acid
Oleic acid
Oleic acid is a monounsaturated omega-9 fatty acid found in various animal and vegetable fats. It has the formula CH37CH=CH7COOH. It is an odorless, colourless oil, although commercial samples may be yellowish. The trans isomer of oleic acid is called elaidic acid...

 and alpha-linolenic acid
Alpha-linolenic acid
α-Linolenic acid is an organic compound found in many common vegetable oils. In terms of its structure, it is named all-cis-9,12,15-octadecatrienoic acid. In physiological literature, it is given the name 18:3 ....

.

Concord grape juice


Commercial juice products from Concord grape
Concord grape
Concord grapes are a cultivar derived from the grape species Vitis labrusca which are used as table grapes, wine grapes and juice grapes....

s have been applied in medical research studies, showing potential benefits against the onset stage of cancer
Cancer
Cancer , known medically as a malignant neoplasm, is a large group of different diseases, all involving unregulated cell growth. In cancer, cells divide and grow uncontrollably, forming malignant tumors, and invade nearby parts of the body. The cancer may also spread to more distant parts of the...

, platelet
Platelet
Platelets, or thrombocytes , are small,irregularly shaped clear cell fragments , 2–3 µm in diameter, which are derived from fragmentation of precursor megakaryocytes.  The average lifespan of a platelet is normally just 5 to 9 days...

 aggregation and other risk factors of atherosclerosis
Atherosclerosis
Atherosclerosis is a condition in which an artery wall thickens as a result of the accumulation of fatty materials such as cholesterol...

, loss of physical performance and mental acuity during aging and hypertension
Hypertension
Hypertension or high blood pressure is a cardiac chronic medical condition in which the systemic arterial blood pressure is elevated. What that means is that the heart is having to work harder than it should to pump the blood around the body. Blood pressure involves two measurements, systolic and...

 in humans.

Religious significance



In the Bible, grapes are first mentioned when Noah
Noah
Noah was, according to the Hebrew Bible, the tenth and last of the antediluvian Patriarchs. The biblical story of Noah is contained in chapters 6–9 of the book of Genesis, where he saves his family and representatives of all animals from the flood by constructing an ark...

 grows them on his farm . Instructions concerning wine are given in the book of Proverbs
Book of Proverbs
The Book of Proverbs , commonly referred to simply as Proverbs, is a book of the Hebrew Bible.The original Hebrew title of the book of Proverbs is "Míshlê Shlomoh" . When translated into Greek and Latin, the title took on different forms. In the Greek Septuagint the title became "paroimai paroimiae"...

 and in the book of Isaiah
Book of Isaiah
The Book of Isaiah is the first of the Latter Prophets in the Hebrew Bible, preceding the books of Ezekiel, Jeremiah and the Book of the Twelve...

, such as in and . tell of the use of wine
Wine
Wine is an alcoholic beverage, made of fermented fruit juice, usually from grapes. The natural chemical balance of grapes lets them ferment without the addition of sugars, acids, enzymes, or other nutrients. Grape wine is produced by fermenting crushed grapes using various types of yeast. Yeast...

 during Jewish feasts. Grapes were also significant to both the Greeks
Ancient Greece
Ancient Greece is a civilization belonging to a period of Greek history that lasted from the Archaic period of the 8th to 6th centuries BC to the end of antiquity. Immediately following this period was the beginning of the Early Middle Ages and the Byzantine era. Included in Ancient Greece is the...

 and Romans
Ancient Rome
Ancient Rome was a thriving civilization that grew on the Italian Peninsula as early as the 8th century BC. Located along the Mediterranean Sea and centered on the city of Rome, it expanded to one of the largest empires in the ancient world....

, and their God
God
God is the English name given to a singular being in theistic and deistic religions who is either the sole deity in monotheism, or a single deity in polytheism....

 of agriculture, Dionysus
Dionysus
Dionysus was the god of the grape harvest, winemaking and wine, of ritual madness and ecstasy in Greek mythology. His name in Linear B tablets shows he was worshipped from c. 1500—1100 BC by Mycenean Greeks: other traces of Dionysian-type cult have been found in ancient Minoan Crete...

, was linked to grapes and wine
Wine
Wine is an alcoholic beverage, made of fermented fruit juice, usually from grapes. The natural chemical balance of grapes lets them ferment without the addition of sugars, acids, enzymes, or other nutrients. Grape wine is produced by fermenting crushed grapes using various types of yeast. Yeast...

, being frequently portrayed with grape leaves on his head. Grapes are especially significant for Christians, who since the Early Church have used wine in their celebration of the Eucharist
Eucharist
The Eucharist , also called Holy Communion, the Sacrament of the Altar, the Blessed Sacrament, the Lord's Supper, and other names, is a Christian sacrament or ordinance...

. Views on the significance of the wine vary between denomination
Christian denomination
A Christian denomination is an identifiable religious body under a common name, structure, and doctrine within Christianity. In the Orthodox tradition, Churches are divided often along ethnic and linguistic lines, into separate churches and traditions. Technically, divisions between one group and...

s. In Christian art
Christian art
Christian art is sacred art produced in an attempt to illustrate, supplement and portray in tangible form the principles of Christianity, though other definitions are possible. Most Christian groups use or have used art to some extent, although some have had strong objections to some forms of...

, grapes often represent the blood of Christ
Blood of Christ
The Blood of Christ in Christian theology refers to the physical blood actually shed by Jesus Christ on the Cross, and the salvation which Christianity teaches was accomplished thereby; and the sacramental blood present in the Eucharist, which is considered by Catholic, Orthodox, Anglican, and...

, such as the grape leaves in Caravaggio’s John the Baptist.

Sources




Footnotes

Further reading


Books
  • Creasy, G.L. / Creasy, L.L. (2009). Grapes (Crop Production Science in Horticulture). CABI. ISBN 9781845934019

Review articles

External links