This article was written by Phin Upham
The grape is considered any berry from the “Vitis” species, which basically means any part of the vine family of plants. Grapes contain many sub-species, like the Concorde Grape, which is used as a fruit or crushed to make a juice. Grapes also have two important distinctions, the old world style and the new one. Both of which have been cultivated for more than 6,000 years.
The grape vine is native to parts of the Middle East, and Europe, and it was thought to be first cultivated in 4,000 BC. As the grape was harvested, it spread to parts of Mesopotamia, Syria, China, Anatolia, and Greece. The Romans took their vines with them when they conquered what is today Britain. By that time, grape cultivation had become a fine art. Grapes could be eaten raw, or dried as raisins. The Romans even ate them smoked as a delicacy.
Grapes have always symbolized the benevolent nature of gods. The bible referred to the Promised Land as the land of grapes, and the Indians used grapes as an offering to the goddess of the earth. Grapes and wine are also prevalent throughout Christian mythology. Both Christians and Jews credit Noah with the cultivation of the grape vine, but the most popular myth involves the god of wine and pleasure, Dionysus.
While Europe has only one species of grape, North America had several species native to its lands. However, grapes had trouble growing reliably in parts of the country that had more extreme weather. The American wine industry began in Ohio, but soon spread to New York. Today, the Napa Valley in California is one of the largest wine producers in North America.