Wine Clinic: What is meant by vitis vinifera?

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cupvitis.jpgVitis vinifera is the species name for the European domesticated grapevine, a well-travelled and much planted fruit from which most of the wines of the world are made. Well-known varieties of vitis vinifera include the familiar Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay but also include such lesser known varietals as Torrontes, a delicate white that is a specialty of northern Argentina, and Chasselas, considered to be the oldest grape varietal still in use today. The ancient Greeks first introduced grape growing and wine making to Europe in the Minoan age using Vitis Vinifera. The Etruscans improved wine making techniques and developed an export trade even beyond the Mediterranean basin. Pictured is a grape harvest on Etruscan terracotta from the 6th century BC.

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