Agronomy and Horticulture Department


Date of this Version



HortScience, Vol. 38(5), August 2003


Copyright 2003 American Society for Horticultural Science. Used by Permission.


To review the work reported on a crop that "comes to us out of the abyss of antiquity" (Winker, 1965) is a Herculean task impossible to accomplish within the scope of this review. Therefore, to honor the first century of the American Society for Horticultural Science (ASHS), this review will focus on selected viticulture literature published from 1903 to 2002. Of necessity, some topics will be omitted or only briefly treated.

The culture of grapevines (Vitis spp.) apparently began in the Transcaucasus region, principally between the Black and Caspian seas, where the classical wine and table grape Vitis vinifera reputably originated. Greek legend attributes Dionysus with introducing the art of grape growing. Archeological discoveries demonstrate that fruits were consumed as early as the Bronze Age and fossil leaves and seeds date to the Tertiary period (Basserman-Jordan. 1923, Columbia Encyclopedia, 2002; Kirchheimer, 1938). Undoubtedly, additional archeological discoveries will add to our knowledge of ancient grape culture.