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The Domestication Of The Grape

The domestication of an animal or a plant is a milestone in the
advance of agriculture and so becomes of interest to every human
being. But, more particularly, the materials, the events and the men
who direct the work of domestication are of interest to those who
breed and care for animals and plants; the grape-grower should find
much profit in the story of the domestication of the grape. What was
the raw material of a fruit known since the beginning of agriculture
and wherever temperate fruits are grown? How has this material been
fashioned into use? Who were the originative and who the directive
agents? These are fundamental questions in the improvement of the
grape, answers to which will also throw much light on the culture of

Botanists number from forty to sixty species of grapes in the world.
These are widely distributed in the northern hemisphere, all but a few
being found in temperate countries. Thus, more than half of the named
species come from the United States and Canada, while nearly all of
the others are from China and Japan, with but one species certainly
growing wild in southwestern Asia and bordering parts of Europe. All
true grapes have more or less edible fruits, and of the twenty or more
species grown in the New World more than half have been or are being
domesticated. Of the Old World grapes, only one species is cultivated
for fruit, but this, of all grapes, is of greatest economic importance
and, therefore, deserves first consideration.

Next: The European Grape

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