Food - Drink
The Grape Species Almost All Red Wines Come From
By MATTHEW SPINA
Wine is one of the most interesting alcohols to both drink and learn about. The sheer diversity of this beverage is hard to grasp, with an estimated 10,000 varieties of wine grapes grown around the world before they're even turned into different wines; even more surprisingly, almost all red wine grapes have one common ancestor.
You may think there's a big difference between your Syrah, Merlot, and Cabernet Sauvignon, but they all come from one species of grape vine: Vitis vinifera. The granddaddy of all your favorite dry reds likely originated in eastern Turkey or the Caucasus mountain ranges, where wild grapes still resemble the now-domesticated species.
As traders spread these grapes throughout the world, the species adapted to new environments or were cross-bred with others to form new breeds, resulting in the massive range of wine grapes and red wines we have today. Many popular white wines, including Chardonnay and Pinot Grigio, also originated from the Vitis vinifera family tree.