As a wine writer, I tend to write a lot about, that’s right, wine. From wine tasting to ordering wine in a restaurant, I’ve covered a plethora of wine related topics: yes, I’ve seen, and drank, it all. But, it occurred to me the other day that I haven’t given the heart of wine, the grape, its day in the sun. Turns out, I feel rather bad about this, especially when I see the solemn look on a grape’s face. After all, only writing about wines instead of the very thing that they come from may make a Merlot happy, but it leaves grapes crushed.

So, without further ado, or further Condrieu, this one’s for the grapes.

From a scientific standpoint, the grape belongs to the genus Vitis in the Kingdom Plantae. Their division, class, order, and family are Magnoliophyta, Magnoliopsida, Vitales, and Vitaceae, respectively. They are grown on perennial plants (plants that live for more than two years) in clusters anywhere between 6 to a few hundred. Representing all kinds of hues, they can be gold, green, purple, red, brown, peach, white, black, blue, or even pink.

Despite their variety of colors, it is the red grapes that have been given the nod from health enthusiasts. Due to their antioxidants and abundance of nutrients, red grapes have been deemed by many as a “super fruit.” This has not only led to more people consuming them, but the title of “super fruit” has also caused the grapes themselves, in a moment of egocentrism, to insist on wearing capes.

White grapes are actually derived from red grapes, thanks to evolution. Through mutations in two genes, anthocyanin - a pigment -is not produced in white grapes. The anthocyanins give red grapes their color, and, more importantly, a good majority of their nutritional value. The white grapes lack of anthocyanins leaves them ultimately white, but metaphorically red with jealously.

As for grapes and their vines, both have innumerable species, far too many to list if I’m hoping my readers stay awake. Some of the most common ones, however, are the Vitis vinifera, Vitis labrusca, Vitis aestivalis and Vitis rotundifolia species.

Though the majority of grapes are used to make wine, they don’t stop there. Grapes are also used for raisins, juices, jams, jellies, grape seed oil and, go figure, as simply grapes. Even though they have the word “grape” in their title, grapes have nothing to do with grapefruit and, despite some people’s assumptions, Grape Nuts is not a cereal made up of grapes. No, not even boy grapes.

So, there you have it: the basics of grapes; short and sweet, just like them. Hopefully this acknowledgement will keep the grapes happy: make ‘em quit whining and go back to wining.