Grape Vine

Grape vine is easily one of the most identifiable plants in the world, adding to human health and happiness since the dawn of hunter-gatherer societies.

Quick Facts
General Information
  • Common name(s)Grapes, common grape vine
  • Scientific nameVitis vinifera
  • Plant typeVine
  • Native regionNorth Africa/Middle East, Southern Europe
  • Main producer(s)China
  • Main Economic UseFood industry
Grape Vine

Grape vine has been synonymous with healthy Mediterranean living since the dawn of civilization in that fertile region, and its fruit is, arguably, one of the most identifiable in the world. As both a food and beverage, it has provided incredible nutrition, social glue, and medicinal benefits for even longer, and its modern popularity shows no signs of slowing down. Foragers and early farmers have harvested the fruit of wild vines since Neolithic times, and records of wine storage date back as far as 7,000 years ago to Sumerian civilizations, now in present-day Iran.

Medicinal and Nutritional Information

Quick Facts (Medicinal and Nutritional Information)
  • Medicinal actionAnti-inflammatory, Cardioprotective
  • Key constituentsAnthocyanins, resveratrol
  • Ways to useLiquid extracts, Food, Juiced
  • Medicinal rating(3) Reasonably useful plant
  • Safety rankingSafe
Grape Vine

Health Benefits of Grape Vine

Grape vine is one of the most used and well-researched medicinal herbs. Thousands of studies have been done on grape vine and its active compounds. The various parts of the plant have been traditionally used for:

  • Promoting cardiovascular health. Eating the fruit can improve circulation and lower the risk of cardiovascular disease.
  • Delaying aging processes. This is due to the fruits' resveratol, which is a strong antioxidant.

Additionally, grape vine leaves have been traditionally used for:

  • Disinfecting skin wounds. The leaves of the plants have anti-inflammatory properties.

  • Treating diarrhea and digestive infections. The leaves work as an astringent and can help stop diarrhea.

Traditional herbal medicine has also makes good use of the plant, with European folk traditions employing grape vine sap to cure skin and eye diseases. Its leaves have found use in stopping bleeding, pain, and hemorrhoid inflammation.

How It Works

Grapes contain several antioxidants, fibrous pectin, and tannins that bind proteins together, as well as vitamins A, B1 (thiamine), B2 (riboflavin), and C (ascorbic acid). Current research suggests that the fruit is healthier with seeds intact, as they have enriched phytochemical content.


Cardioprotective properties are also present in olive and sacha inchi, whereas blueberry and cabbage can provide similar antioxidative benefits.

Grape Vine Cautions

Allergies and other health conditions should be considered before establishing a supplemental regimen.

How to Consume Grape Vine

Quick Facts (How to Consume)
  • Edible partsFruit
  • Edible usesFlavoring, Coloring, Sweetener
  • TasteSweet

An excellent source of vitamins and minerals, many choose grape as a key fruit to add to a healthy diet. It is still preferred to eat the fruit fresh off the vine, or dried, as raisins. However, there are also medicinal ways to reap its benefits.


Main preparations: Capsules, liquid extract, oil

  • Capsules and tablets. The resveratrol contained in grape seeds is widely available as easy to swallow capsules and tablets, for a daily antioxidant dose.

  • Liquid extract. The liquid extract from grape seeds helps relieve inflammation as well as reduce cholesterol levels.

  • Oil. Obtained by cold pressing method, grape seed's oil is growing increasingly in demand, as information spreads about its health benefits.

  • Powder. The husks of red grapes, rich in anthocyanins and resveratrol, are dried and powdered to concentrate their antioxidant properties, and taken as a supplement.
50 mg of resveratrol are equivalent to 4.5 liters of red wine.


Main preparations: Raw, steamed, dried, jam, juiced, oil.

Though boasting other uses, grape is overwhelmingly utilized as food and beverage, eaten raw and dried for centuries before the appearance of processing technology.

Fresh or dried, grapes are a common snack worldwide, though their most widespread consumption comes from wine and fruit juice products. Wine connoisseurs make knowledge of the product a hobby as well as a profession. It also forms part of several culinary traditions, and it is frequently associated with the holidays in the West, particularly in the spotlight on New Year's Day.

The leaves or stems of the plant should never be eaten raw, although many typical dishes of Mediterranean and Middle Eastern cuisine they are commonly steamed and used for appetizers or main dishes.

Grape's seed oil is becoming a popular option for salad dressings.


Quick Facts (Buying)
  • Where to buySupermarkets, Farmers' markets, Specialized health stores, Online herb stores

Fresh grapes and grape products can be found year-round almost everywhere that fruit is sold. Vines are a less common sight outside of temperate zones, but herbal supplements offer a condensed version of the seeds for optimum convenience.

Fresh Grapes and Grape Products

Thanks to modern global food transportation, raw grapes can be found year-round in most grocery stores and supermarkets, though fresh varieties are more common in late autumn and winter months, as some varieties are best picked directly before the first frost. Simply processed and organic grape juices can be found in many health food stores.

Grape Supplements

As they rise in popularity, grape supplements are available in specialized health food stores, wholesale retailers, and online outlets. The latter generally provides the easiest way to find the exact quantities and concentrations desired. They most frequently come in extract form, though capsules also exist.


Quick Facts (Growing)
  • Life cyclePerennial
  • Harvested partsLeaves, Fruit
  • Light requirementsFull sun
  • SoilLoamy sand
  • Soil pH6.1 – 6.5 (Slightly acidic), 6.6 – 7.3 (Neutral), 7.4 – 7.8 (Slightly alkaline)
  • Growing habitatTemperate climates
  • USDA Plant Hardiness Zones3a (From −40 °C (−40 °F) to −37.2 °C (−35 °F)), 3b (From −37.2 °C (−35 °F) to −34.4 °C (−30 °F))
  • Plant spacing average3 m (9.84 ft)
  • Propagation techniquesCuttings
  • Potential insect pestsPhylloxera
  • Potential diseasesMildew

Temperate climates with marked seasons are essential to successful grape vine cultivation, with warm summers and dry, cold winters.

Growing Guidelines

  • Though soil quality is less important, sandy soils are preferred to maximize yields.

  • Grapes need to be exposed to cold temperatures in order to stimulate a dormancy period without which blooming will not occur.

  • Some varieties may be grown in warmer regions if irrigation is cut off after each harvest in order to "stress" the plant and cause it to go dormant without cold exposure.

  • Grape vine requires rainfall of at least 20 inches (500 mm) per year and relative protection from the wind.

Additional Information

Quick Facts (Additional Information)
  • Other usesAlcohol

Plant Biology

Also known as 'common grape', the grape plant is a perennial, woody climbing vine that can grow up to 115 feet (35 m) long in the wild, but when cultivated it is usually reduced by annual pruning to 3-10 feet (1-3 m). Its leaves are thin, circular to oval shaped and two to nine inches (5-23 cm) broad. If forms dense clusters of inconspicuous, white greenish to red flowers. The berries of this vine, widely known as grapes, grow in large clusters and are round shaped. Depending on the variety, their color can be green, yellow, red, or purplish-black.       

  • Classification

    The grape vine (Vitis vinifera) belongs to the Vitidaceae family, which encompasses about 17 genera and 1000 species, most of them tropical or subtropical climbing plants.

    The Vitis genus contains over 60 species distributed across the world, but particularly in America and Asia, and it is the only one in the Vitidaceae family that produces edible berries.

  • Varieties and Cultivars of Grape Vine

    The Vitis genus ncludes several cultivated grapes of economical importance, such as Vitis vinifera spp. vinifera (the European wine grape) and Vitis labruscana or fox grape (native to the eastern United States).

    Over 572 varieties and 2,275 cultivars of grape vine have been officially registered in 2017 only in North America. However, the dominant variety of table (fresh) grape in the U.S. since the 19th century has been the 'Thompson Seedless', which is also used for raisin production. Other popular grapes are 'Red Globe' and 'Emperor'.

Historical Information

Historians place first grape vine cultivation and distribution between 3500 - 3000 BCE in southern central Europe. The practice soon found its way to ancient Greece, where the plant's fruit was frequently fermented into wine for religious as well as social occasions. From there, winemaking became popular with Etruscan and later Roman societies. Middle Eastern cultures also favored the grape until the 7th century CE, when Islam became the religious majority, though wine plays a key role in Christian theology. European colonization spread its growth even further, and today, it contributes to every major agricultural economy.

Economic Data

Grape vine has been a fundamental economic crop for thousands of years, and it continues to fuel industry across the globe. Over 69 million tons of grapes were harvested worldwide in 2011, with wine production alone generating an estimated value of $33 billion USD. France, Italy, and Spain lead the European market, and the United States follows closely behind, also benefiting from the commercially popular fruit juice industry. Curiously, however, China produces the largest quantity of grapes per year at 9 million tons, despite a weaker cultural link to the fruit.


Other Uses

  • Mouthwash. Grape vine has been endorsed as a mouthwash and teeth whitener since the 17th century.
  • Beverage cooling. Fresh grapes are sometimes also frozen as substitutes for ice cubes, chilling wine without danger of dilution.