Grape is a berry, categorized and used as a fruit, scientifically known as ‘Vitis’ from the family ‘Vitaceae’. It’s one of the most popular and used fruits throughout the world and stands around 5th in the list of similar fruits with regard to their popularity and consumption.
The grape has more than 10,000 varieties, and it is mostly consumed directly as a table fruit. And then it is mainly used to make different types of wines than to manufacture other products like jam, juice, jelly, vinegar, grape seed oil and raisins and currants-the dried grapes.
Grape is believed to have originated from the Middle East where it is thought to have been first cultivated around 6,000-8,000 years ago. And some of the earliest archaeological evidence point out to Egypt and Syria which are thought to be the first to domesticate the fruit.
The grape plant, botanically called grapevine is a climber that uses tendrils to attach itself to supports for growing upward. The plants require a hot and dry climate with sufficient sunshine and moisture and flourish on various types of soils like sandy loam, red sandy loam, sandy clay loam and red loam soils. They usually grow 4-10 metres in height depending on the varieties and take 2-3 years to bear the clusters of 70-100 fruits in different sizes and colours like black, dark blue, purple, green, yellow, white, red, crimson, orange and pink with or without the seeds inside-depending on the varieties.
The planting season of the grape is different in most parts of the world. In India, in the northern regions, it is planted in February-March while in South India the planting is done between December-January. And February-April is the main harvest season in India, though the harvest is done nearly all the year round in India and other parts of the world.
Grapes are high in nutrients and they contain fibre, protein, fat, carbohydrate, calcium, potassium, iron, magnesium, sodium, phosphorus, zinc and vitamins K and C. They are also purported to improve heart and eye health, regulate blood pressure, and prevent certain cancers.
China is the largest producer and consumer of grapes in the world, and the other main producers are Italy, the United States, Spain, France, Turkey, and India. The largest exporter is Chile, followed by Peru, South Africa, China, the United States, India and Turkey. And the United States is the largest importer followed by China, Germany, Netherlands and the UK.
In India, the largest producer of grapes is Maharashtra. And Nashik in that state is called the ‘grape capital of India.’ Other main producers are Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Mizoram, Punjab, Haryana, Madhya Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir and Himachal Pradesh.
Main trading markets of grapes in India:
Maharashtra(Sangli, Ahmednagar, Solapur, Satara, Pune)
Karnataka(Bangalore, Bijapur, Kolar, Ballari)
Tamil Nadu(Cumbum, Coimbatore, Erode, Madurai)
Andhra Pradesh(Guntur, Tirupati, Chittoor, Vijayawada)
Names of grapes in different Indian languages: