Wild Vines

Appears in

Oxford Companion to Wine

Oxford Companion to Wine

By Jancis Robinson

Published 2006

  • About

wild vines, plants of the genus vitis growing in their natural state without any cultivation by humans. Such vines are lianas and are often found climbing trees but may also grow as shrubs. They are widespread in the Americas, especially in the east and south east, in Asia, and up until the late 1800s in Europe. Indigenous wild grapevines can sometimes be confused with feral or naturalized vines derived from plants once cultivated. Examples of feral vines are the wild vines of the Pays basque and the american vine species Vitis riparia and Vitis rupestris along the Rhône and Garonne rivers after importation as rootstocks. Wild vines are typically spread by birds eating the berries and passing the seeds. Where wild vines of different species grow together, it is common for natural hybrids to develop, as for example in the east of America (see american hybrids). Such hybrids can also develop from natural pollen interchange with cultivated grapes.