Grapevines are exceptionally old plants. As far back as 130 million years ago earlier forms of the wild grapevine had spread as far as Greenland, but they originally came from the South Caucasus and Central Asia. The grapevine was cultivated 5,000 years ago in Ancient Egypt and was mainly used to produce wine. Later, the Greeks and Romans continued to cultivate it as they, too, valued the finer things in life.
Today, there are cultivation regions in all temperate and, in some cases, subtropical zones on Earth as the sweet taste develops particularly well in mild, warm climates. Grapes are one of the top-selling types of fruit: they rank in second place – after citrus fruits but ahead of bananas and apples. The annual global harvesting of grapes amounts to between 50 and 60 million tons. The majority (85%) is used for wine, sparkling wine and juice production, 10% are table grapes, and the remaining 5% are dried and sold as raisins (currants/sultanas/raisins).