You might think you know your grapes because you know your wines! Fair assumption… we all like a drop of Sauvignon Blanc, a cool Shiraz, or a glass of Merlot. But, hang on a minute, because that’s literally all we know. There’s so much more to this little fruit than just what we see in the wine aisle in our supermarkets. Do you know where grapes come from? Have you heard about the oldest winery? Do you know how many grapes it takes to fill a normal bottle of wine? Any idea… it’s 400. Have we wet your appetite yet, do you fancy another sip of facts? Keep on reading to glug down another 20 juicy facts about Grapes.
Fact 1: A grape is a berry, which is typically green, purple, red, or black in color.
- They tend to grow in clusters on a ‘grapevine’, and they can be eaten as a fruit and can be used to make wine.
Fact 2: All 50 American states produce this fruit. California, Washington and New York produce the most.
- According to the National Agricultural Statistics Service, the U.S. had approximately 1,049,600 acres of grape-growing land in 2014, and the U.S. harvested more than 7 million tons of the fruit.
Fact 3: During the Prohibition (which was a nationwide ban on the selling of alcoholic products), grape farmers sold “wine bricks” to ensure they didn’t go bankrupt.
- These ‘wine-bricks’ were actually semi-solid grape concentrates which would turn into wine, if they were left in water for 20 days. Winemakers were allowed to sell grapes/non-alcoholic wine so long as they made sure to tell the customers how illegal it was to make alcohol. Winemakers cleverly manipulated the system to save themselves by saying how not to make wine on the box of their ‘wine bricks’, but in doing so they were actually telling the customers how to make alcohol secretly.
- Boxes were sold with this warning: “After dissolving the brick in a gallon of water, do not place the liquid in a jug away in the cupboard for twenty days, because then it will turn into wine.”
Fact 4: Humans began cultivating grapes around 6,000-8,000 years ago in the East.
- Yeast, one of the earliest domesticated microorganisms, occurs naturally on the skins of grapes which led to the discovery of alcoholic drinks such as wine.
Fact 5: The oldest known winery can be found in Armenia.
- The winery dates back to 4000 BC. By the 9th century AD the city of Shiraz was known to produce some of the finest wines in the Middle East.
Fact 6: Grapes grow in clusters of 15-300 berries.
- Green grapes are called “White”, but they come from the purple grape really.
Fact 7: Roughly 71% of the world’s grape production is used for wine, 27% as fresh fruit, and 2% as dried fruit.
- A smaller proportion of grape production goes towards producing grape juice for canned fruits.
Fact 8: Grapes are at least 65 million years old.
- An estimated 8,000 types of grapes exist in the Vitaceae family, only around 1,300 of these are used in winemaking.
Fact 9: 29,292 square miles of Earth’s surfaces have been devoted to cultivating grapes.
- Top producers include Spain, Italy, China, and Turkey.
Fact 10: Most grapes are self-pollinating, simply put, they don’t need bees to move pollen around for them, they can manage on their own!
- These are also examples of self-pollinating plants: wheat, barley, oats, rice, tomatoes, and potatoes.
Fact 11: A fuller, flowering grapevine doesn’t mean you’ll end up with excellent grapes!
- You must have a healthy grapevine to have excellent grapes. If you want a healthy grapevine, it’s best that you trim away excess flowers and maintain/tend to your vines regularly.
Fact 12: One serving of grapes can give you up to 27% of your daily Vitamin C required intake.
- One cup (151 grams) of grapes provides more than a quarter of the required dietary intake for Vitamin K, a fat-soluble vitamin vital for blood clotting and healthy bones. They’re also a good source of Vitamin C, which is an essential nutrient and powerful antioxidant, which is good for body tissue health.
Fact 13: Dinesh Shivnath Upadhyaya holds the record for eating the most grapes in 3 minutes.
- He consumed 205 grapes in that three minute period in 2015, and had to pick each grape up individually in order to do so. Upadhyaya is a teacher, writer and the holder of more than 300 World Records in various disciplines.
Fact 14: Organic or not, all seedless grapes are “unnatural”.
- Because they come from cuttings, new grapevines are essentially clones of the vine they were cut from. Seedless grapes actually do contain seeds at some point, but a genetic error prevents the seeds from forming hard outer coats as normal seeds do.
Fact 15: Grapes and raisins are severely toxic to dogs.
- Unfortunately, grape/raisin toxicity can be fatal. Ingesting the fruit could potentially lead to sudden kidney failure in dogs.
Fact 16: In July 2016, a single bunch of Ruby Roman grapes was sold for £8,400.
- Ruby Roman is a variety of table grape grown and is marketed entirely in Ishikawa Prefecture, Japan. It is red in color and about the size of a ping-pong ball.
Fact 17: Contrary to popular belief, it is in fact healthy to consume grape seeds.
- Grape seeds can reduce fat, have anti-cancer properties and also fight against inflammatory acne, asthma, and arthritis.
Fact 18: Sacramental wine, or altar wine, is wine obtained from grapes and intended for use in the celebration of the Eucharist.
- It’s meant to symbolize the blood of Christ.
Fact 19: The white wax you see on some of the grapes you buy from the grocery store is a natural wax produced by the fruit itself.
- It is called epicuticular wax and it helps to reduce moisture loss.
Fact 20: If you live in Spain, it is a tradition to eat 12 grapes at midnight on New Year’s Eve.
- It’s customary to eat 1 grape for every stroke on the clock which is declaring midnight… It’s rare to see someone miss out on this tradition as they’re then tempting their luck for the coming year.