Ampelography

Appears in

Oxford Companion to Wine

Oxford Companion to Wine

By Jancis Robinson

Published 2006

  • About

ampelography, the science of description and identification of the vine genus vitis and its cultivated vine varieties. A volume of vine descriptions is also called an ampelography, the word coming from the Greek ampelos, meaning vine and graphos, meaning ‘description’. Some system of distinguishing between grapevine varieties is clearly necessary since the early French ampelographers Viala and Vermorel (see below) were able to list about 24,000 names of varieties and their synonyms in their seven-volume Ampélographie published between 1901 and 1910. Some system of vine identification is particularly necessary in the modern era of varietal wines (see below for examples of mistaken identification, especially in the new world).