Where Did Grapes Originate?

Grapes originated around 6000 B.C. in what is known today as northern Iran between the Black and Caspian Seas. By 3000 B.C., grapes had reached Egypt and Phoenicia.

Grapes have to be grown in a warm, dry climate, which is why they grow so well in places like California. Once they were found in northern Iran, their appeal quickly reached other parts of the world where they were grown in abundance. After spreading to Egypt and Phoenicia in 3000 B.C., grapes made their way to Italy and North Africa. In 500 B.C., they had spread throughout Spain, France and Portugal and made their way to the British Isles.

When people of the United States think about where their grapes are grown, California is the first place to cross their minds. Grapes didn't find their way to California until the mid 1800s when the first table grape vineyard was planted. By 1860, grape vineyards from Europe were brought to America and planted in California. The United States began exporting grapes in 1869, and today, Americans eat more than 8 pounds of grapes per person per year.

Grapes grow from the late spring until around mid-July. These grapes can be harvested through the late fall and stored so that people can enjoy them all year long.