Drying Grapes

Appears in
Oxford Companion to Wine

By Jancis Robinson

Published 2006

  • About

drying grapes, which become dried grapes, second most common commercial use for viticulture, less important than wine but more important than table grapes. Drying is a means of preserving grapes for eating (and precedes fermentation in the production of dried-grape wines). Dried grapes are an ancient food supply. The low moisture content of the dried grape (10 to 15%) and high sugar concentration (70 to 80%) make the product relatively unsuitable for survival of food spoilage organisms.

Grapes have been dried since antiquity. Records of grape drying found in egypt date back to 3000 bc, and records of dried grapes are found in biblical times. Aristotle in 360 bc referred to the seedless character of the Black Corinth grape, today’s currant. Legend has it that Hannibal fed his troops with raisins during the crossing of the Alps in 218 bc.