Vitis vinifera (Common Grape Vine)

Scientific Name

Vitis vinifera L.

Common Names

Common Grape Vine, Grape Vine, Wine Grape, European Grape


Cissus vinifera

Scientific Classification

Family: Vitaceae
Genus: Vitis


Color: Yellow, white
Bloom Time: Spring


Vitis vinifera is a liana that grows up to 35 yards (32 m) in length, with flaky bark. The leaves are alternate, palmately lobed, up to 8 inches (20 cm) long and broad. The fruit is a berry, known as a grape. In the wild species, it is up to 0.25 inch (6 mm) in diameter and ripens dark purple to blackish with pale wax bloom. In cultivated plants, it is usually much larger, up to 1.2 inches (3 cm) long, and can be green, red, or purple (black). There are currently between 5,000 and 10,000 varieties of Vitis vinifera grapes though only a few are of commercial significance for wine and table grape production. Flower buds are formed late in the growing season and overwinter for blooming in the spring of the next year. The flowers are small and grouped in bunches.

Vitis vinifera - Common Grape Vine
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How to Grow and Care

Choose a sunny, well-drained position, and at planting time, dig in plenty of organic matter, including a good shovelful of compost. Dig the hole large enough for the roots to spread, and backfill with soil and compost, pressing around the area to get rid of air holes. Water in well and make sure, with a grafted vine, that the graft union is not below the soil – it should be at least 4 inches (10 cm) above the surface.

In early spring, fertilize with a complete fertilizer to establish the new vine, and repeat each year in spring and summer. Grapevines are well adapted to growing in dry conditions, and a drip-irrigation system will deliver water efficiently and adequately. It is a better method than watering overhead, as this can lead to fungal problems, such as mildew on the leaves and rotting fruit. Regular watering is done from September to January and then withdrawn after the fruit is harvested. See more at How to Grow and Care for Grapevines (Vitis vinifera).


Native to the Mediterranean region, central Europe, and southwestern Asia, from Morocco and Portugal north to southern Germany and east to northern Iran.


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