General English



  • The fruit of a vine, Vitis vinifera, V. labrusca or V. rotundifolia and hybrids, grown worldwide where the winters are cool and summers long and hot. The berries normally grow in clusters and range from green to dark purple and from 5 to 30 mm in diameter. The flesh varies from sour to sweet and succulent and is usually relatively firm but juicy and may contain up to 3 inedible seeds. Used for wine making, as a dessert fruit for decoration and garnishing and when dried for use as dried vine fruits (raisins, currants and sultanas).


  • a fruit, technically a berry, from a vine that is used to produce wine. Although many other types of fruit can also be used to produce wine, grapes dominate the world market. When making wine the grapes are usually crushed to break open the skin, then pressed to release the juice from inside the grape, then fermented to convert the natural sugars in the grape juice into alcohol.

Origin & History of “grape”

Not surprisingly, given the northerliness of the British Isles, English does not have its own native word for ‘grape’. In Old English it was called wīnberige, literally ‘wineberry’, and the Old French word grape which middle English borrowed as grape meant ‘bunch of grapes’, not ‘grape’. It was probably a derivative of the verb graper ‘gather grapes’, which itself was based on the noun grape ‘hook’ (a relative of English cramp, crampon, and grapnel (14th c.)). The underlying notion is of a bunch of grapes being gathered with a sort of pruning hook. (The use of a word that originally meant ‘bunch’ for ‘grape’ is in fact fairly common: Czech hrozen, Romanian stugure, German traube, and Lithuanian keke all follow the same pattern, as does French raisin, source of English raisin.).