Grapes most likely originated near the Caspian Sea, though no one knows for sure. They are an old plant, as certain species from the wild have been found at archaeological sites that have been dated back 130 million years.
Before the 1500s, grapes were only used to make wine. Francois I, the King of France, was the first to eat grapes as a fruit, introducing the notion of table grapes. Over the years, certain varieties have been bred for particular traits. For instance, the Concord grape appeared in 1854. The grapes were bred from wild varieties found in New England. The breeder, Ephraim Wales Bull, was looking for a grape with a strong flavor that was ready to pick sooner than other varieties.