Grapes belong to the oldest plants on earth, much older than human beings. Grapevines existed 130 million years ago, although table grapes are a fairly recent development. Prior to the 16th century, grapes were exclusively used for making wine. The cultivation of the grape began 6,000- 8,000 years ago in the Near East. Yeast occurs on the skin of grapes which is ultimately what led to the innovation of grapes being used for alcohol.

Grapes are a type of fruit that grow in clusters of 15 to 300. Grapevines can produce for up to 60 or more years. They are one of the most important fruits. Internationally grapes are being traded more than apples, pears, and oranges combined. They come in crimson, black, dark blue, yellow, green, orange, and pink. The most common you see in stores is white, red, and black. White grapes are actually green in color and derived from the purple grape.

According to the Food and Agriculture Organization, 75,866 square kilometers of the world are dedicated to production of grapes. Around 71% of world grape production is used for wine, 27% as fresh fruit, and 2% as dried fruit. The largest producing countries are Italy (17%), Russia (14%), Turkey (12%), Spain (6%), USA (5%), Bulgaria (5%), Japan (5%), Greece (4%), Brazil (3%), and France (3%). Grapes are highly perishable and transportation costs are high therefore only 14% are exported. In Europe and North America fresh grape consumption represents 5% of the annual fresh fruit consumption.

Grapes also have many health benefits such as alteration of molecular mechanisms in blood vessels which reduces the risk of vascular damage, helps lower blood pressure, and lower the risks of cardiovascular problems.

Grapes are typically classified into 2 groups: table grapes and wine grapes which are based on their intended method of consumption. Table grapes tend to have large seedless fruit with thin skin. Wine grapes are smaller, usually seeded, and have think skins. They also tend to be very sweet.
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