The vine subgenus Vitis subg. Vitis is divided into an American, an Asian and a European group according to geographical occurrence. As a result of the ice age, there is probably only one species in the European group, Vitis vinifera , under which all wild and domesticated grape varieties of the European grapevine are subsumed. The name means the "wine-bearing vine".
There are two subspecies among them. The subspecies Vitis vinifera subspec. sylvestris is the wild stem form of today's noble vines. It has been used prehistorically, but is irrelevant in today's viticulture. The second subspecies Vitis vinifera subspec. vinifera (obsolete name Vitis vinifera ssp. sativa) is a cultivated breed that has gradually been bred by humans. This species is understood to mean all around 10,000 cultivated European varieties, of which only a few hundred are of importance.
The wild subspecies is also often called Vitis vinifera ssp. sylvestris Gmelin (also called Rheinische Wildrebe). The name part "sylvestris" means "living in the wilderness". The last part of the name refers to the German botanist Johann Georg Gmelin (1709-1755), who separated this subspecies for the first time. This species is diocese (dioecious); that is, there are male and female plants with unisexual flowers. The term "secondary unisexual" means that the species is originally bisexual in its genetics, but one gender is suppressed. Their area stretches from the Caucasus to the southern Mediterranean and north to the Danube floodplains near Lobau Wien (Austria) and Germany to the Rhine Valley.
A regional form of sylvestris is Vitis vinifera ssp. caucasica Vavilov (Caucasian wild grape, Danube wild grape), which has occurred east of the Caucasus in Afghanistan, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Iran and Turkmenistan. It was first developed by the Russian botanist Nikolai I. Vavilov (1887-1943). Today, this differentiation can be made from those that still exist Wild vines but no longer understand.
Wild forms of the species Vitis vinifera survived the ice age on the Black Sea and the Eastern Mediterranean. As already mentioned, only one species survived due to the extreme environmental conditions. After the last ice age, the wild vines spread westwards and along the Mediterranean coast into the floodplains from all of southern and central Europe. They were still widespread in the temperate zones of Europe and the Middle East until the second half of the 19th century. With the beginning of the intensive use of the forests in the 17th and 18th centuries, the wild vines climbing in the trees were largely cut off and destroyed.
On Rhine. Rhone and Danube (e.g. Vienna-Lobau), residual populations have been preserved to this day. The wild vines have been cultivated by humans for thousands of years. The cultivated subspecies Vitis vinifera ssp. vinifera encompasses all cultivated grape varieties developed in Europe without cross-breeding of other species. This species is monoecious (mostly hermaphrodite). That means there are female and male organs in one blossom united. The old part of the name sativa (literally "sown") means the "cultivated". The first varieties are probably in first Transcaucasia emerged.
Generally to be separated from Vitis vinifera are the so-called Asian game species that occur mostly in China and Central Asia east of the Caucasus Asians Vines who like that American vines include a group of species. All European vines have 19 pairs of chromosomes (2n = 38), which is why (because of the same number) they can be crossed with all Asian vines and also most American vines without any problems. Vitis vinifera or Vinifera is written in the pedigree.
There have always been attempts to classify the numerous cultivars of Vitis vinifera according to geographical or botanical criteria. The most famous system comes from the Russian researcher Dr. Alexander Negrul (1900-1971), who divided the European vines into three large regional groups, which he proles called. With the colonization, European varieties were also spread outside Europe to other continents from the 16th century, where there had previously been no or no vines at all (see also under New world ).
Due to the general sensitivity of the European vine roots to that imported from America phylloxera European vines have not been rooted for over a hundred years. Instead, so-called noble rice (tops of noble varieties) become resistant to phylloxera documents grafted from American vines. This process is called finishing, These are resistant to phylloxera at the roots, so that they are used as rhizomes for the grafted European noble varieties. The leaves of the European vines are mostly not affected.
All varieties of the European grapevine are also susceptible to the harmful fungi brought in from America by the real and the false mildew, Certain American wild grapes, however, are usually largely against these fungi resistant, This positive characteristic is reflected in the new breed Mushroom-resistant grape varieties are used, in which European vines are crossed with American vines in order to combine the characteristic of the European vine "good wine quality" with the characteristic of the American vine "high fungus resistance".
Since this means crosses between different species, these are also called "interspecific crosses". The results of sowing are always hybrids, All grape varieties described in this work that are not expressly another species such as Vitis labrusca or Vitis coignetiae are descendants of the European species Vitis vinifera. For this complex topic, see also a list of all grape-specific keywords under grapevine,