Did you know there are more than 8,000 different types of grapes? Or that they can help fight cancer? Keep reading for some more fun facts about grapes!
Grapes are one of the more versatile fruits.
Some people love them fresh by the handful or in a smoothie.
Or perhaps you are one of the billions around the world who enjoy a glass of wine. And of course, raisins are a favorite treat among kids and adults alike.
But if you’ve never tried frozen grapes before, you’re missing out (trust us on that one). Simply pop fresh grapes in the freezer for a few hours then enjoy an icy, refreshing snack that’s perfect on a summer’s day.
No matter how you enjoy them, these fun facts about grapes should teach you a few new things about this amazing fruit.
Like, did you know that there are more than 8,000 types of grapes? It would be near impossible to try them all.
Or that the oldest vine in the world is more than 400-years-old and likely served the Habsburgs?
People have been cultivating grapes for 8,000 years. Grapes and wine have even been associated with gods.
But don’t feed these round fruits to your dog! They can be quite toxic to canines (more on that below).
So, if you’re ready for more facts about grapes, be sure to keep reading.
20 Fun Facts About Grapes
1. Grapes originally came to the US from Spain
If you eat or drink a grape in America, you can thank the Spanish. Well, in particular, Spanish explorers. These conquistadors brought a variety of grapes to North America more than 300 years ago.
2. They come in many shapes and sizes
Grapes are quite versatile. Did you know there are more than 8,000 types of grapes from about 60 different species? Many of the varietals are European and American. And not all of them are consumed regularly.
Vinters (wine makers to you and me) use about 1,300 varieties in wine production today.
3. Grapes are big business
The grape industry is massive. Worldwide, vineyards cover about 25 million acres of land. This land produces around 72 million tons of grapes each year.
Of these grapes, about 71% are used to make wine, like Champagne, while 27% are consumed as fresh produce. The remaining 2% are dried out and enjoyed as raisins.
For the record, it takes about 2.5 pounds (1.13kg) of grapes to make even one bottle of wine!
4. What happens in Concord
Concord grapes are plump, juicy berries that are named for Concord, Massachusetts. Concord grapes are quite hardy and thrive in colder climates, unlike many other varieties.
These grapes’ distinct taste and color are perfect for the delicious juice so many kids (and adults!) love.
5. Grapevines can get really, really old
The oldest grapevine in the world still producing fruit is said to be in Maribor, Slovenia. This area borders Austria and the Balkans. For more than 400 years, this vine has withstood drought, floods, wars, and more.
In America, the oldest vine is in North Carolina. Known simply as “Mother Vine,” this vine is around 400-years-old and still makes delicious fruit. This scuppernong vine was likely planted by Croatian Native Americans, or perhaps by the Lost Colony.
6. They have many cousins
Grapes are technically berries. This grape fact means they have MANY cousins, including blueberries, strawberries, and blackberries. Grapes are very similar to blueberries with tough skin surrounding a fleshy inside.
7. Grapes have their place in religion
Throughout history, Christians have used wine as part of worship. Typically, wine represents the blood of Jesus.
Under canon law in the Catholic Church, wine used for mass must be natural and made from grapes of the vine. Some churches that oppose alcohol will sub in grape juice instead of wine for services.
Noah grows grapes in Genesis in the Bible. And in Judaism, alcohol is allowed. Sometimes observers will use grape juice for kiddush on Shabbat and Jewish holidays, however.
8. People have been enjoying grapes for thousands of years
For us, this is definitely one of the best facts about grapes.
Did you know the first signs of grape cultivation were between 6,000 and 8,000 years ago in the Middle East!? That’s so old!
Many plants used for human consumption started in Mesopotamia and the surrounding area. Ancient people discovered that this berry was perfect for making wine.
Yeast occurs naturally on grapes, and the fermentation process ensured the drink was safe for consumption.
9. And many civilizations took part.
While many believe that the first grapes used for wine grew in present-day Georgia, they were far from the only ones partaking in this alcoholic beverage.
Every civilization from the ancient Egyptians to the Greeks to the Phoenicians to the Romans shows evidence of wine. Most of these groups grew purple grapes to both eat and make wine.
10. Grapes come in many colors
You might think grapes are only green or red, but you would be wrong. While most grapes come in these few colors, you wouldn’t be hard-pressed to find them in other shades.
Have you ever eaten a black, yellow, or pink grape? If you haven’t, you should! These are just a few of the fun colors grapes come in.
For the record, if you drink white wine, they were made with green grapes.
11. People throughout history have loved grapes
Grapes have been significant to many cultures in history, including the ancient Greeks and Romans. The god of agriculture, Dionysus, loved grapes and wine. He is often portrayed with a string of grape leaves on his head.
12. Healthy facts about grapes
Grapes are a healthy fruit that packs a powerful punch. A single cup of grapes has about a quarter of the vitamins K and C you need daily. Plus, a cup is only 100 calories. Grapes are also a fantastic source of calcium, phosphorus, potassium, and magnesium.
You will get a huge dose of healthy antioxidants if you feel like eating grape seeds.
13. Grapes aren’t for everyone
If your pup gets ahold of grapes or raisins, be sure to call your veterinarian immediately. This fruit is incredibly toxic to dogs and can cause acute renal failure. In many cases, this reaction is deadly, so please don’t feed grapes to your dog!
14. They’re not just for eating
Grape seed oil, the oils extracted from the seed, is quite versatile. People throughout the world use this oil for hair, skin, and overall health. When it is consumed or used for cooking, it can decrease inflammation, reduce heart disease and stroke risks, help prevent dementia, reduce chances of cancer, and help with skin problems and premature aging, among many other benefits.
However, grapeseed oil is rich in vitamin E, which can nourish your skin, including your hair and scalp. Many use it as a carrier oil for essential oils, as well. You will often see grapeseed oil in a variety of health and beauty products.
15. They can fight cancer
Scientific research has shown that certain compounds in grapes can help fight cancer. In particular, resveratrol and many phytocompounds are excellent sources of cancer-fighting agents, specifically breast cancer. This might be the best grape facts of the lot!
16. Grapevines are quite unique
Grapes grow on a vine. While there is no one style of grapevine, there are some general traits. Some grape vines can grow to a length of 50 feet. Typically, one vine can produce 40 grape clusters.
Grape vines also contain large leaves that are usually green and lobed with toothed edges. Each vine also contains thin, snake-like tendrils. These offshoots help the vine by grabbing things close by, like vine supports, wires, and bars.
17. Grapes self-pollinate
The flowers on grapevines are usually small and green. These flowers are arranged in clusters, similar to the actual fruit. Each flower has all the reproductive organs to self-pollinate.
18. Grapes are therapeutic
Ampelotherapy is a type of naturopathic medicine. This grape therapy relies on the consumption of grapes in both food and wine form.
Beyond the fruit, practices of this alternative medicine will also consume parts of the vine and leaves along with the seeds.
19. Not all grapes are created equal
When you buy grapes at the store to enjoy with lunch, you might notice their skin is quite thin. While there are seedless varieties, many have several seeds in them. Table grapes are also large.
This is quite different than grapes used for wine-making. The thick skins are essential to get the color and flavor needed for wine production. Wine grapes have larger seeds but are smaller in general than table grapes.
20. People eat a lot of grapes
Humans love to consume grapes. In fact, more and more grapes are eaten each year. In 1970, the average person ate just under 3lbs (1.32kg) of grapes a year. Today, that number has risen to around 8lbs (3.62kg) a year.
Who wants more fun facts?
If you’re looking for some recommendations, these are a few of our favorite fact books to buy. We use these when planning fun trivia nights with family and friends!
So which of these grape facts was the most fascinating? We bet you didn’t know that grapes are so old!
Some of these facts about grapes have us craving a fruity snack (who are we kidding – we’re reaching for a glass of wine now!)