Saturday, October 9, 2010
Vitis labrusca cv. Tokay--Tokay Grape--Vitaceae
Vitis labrusca is native to the eastern US and is the source of many cultivars, including Concord grapes. Grapes have been made into wine for thousands of years. It is very easy to make alcohol using grapes, because all the necessary ingredients are there. The white bloom on the fruit is yeast, and the grapes have plenty of sugar. So when they are crushed and sit in the sun, they turn into wine.
It is not only humans that get drunk on wine. Butterflies do, too. An acquaintance who grew up on a vineyard told me that the butterflies in the area sipped the fermented juice from the grapes that fell to the ground, and that they had a difficult time flying after that.
Wine has been used in religious ceremonies for thousands of years. Bread and wine was served at the last supper, and Jesus asked his disciples to use bread and wine to remember him. In the Jewish religion, a blessing over wine sanctifies the Shabbat.
Vitis vinifera, the common grape vine, is native to the Mediterranean. It is cultivated throughout the world.