The common vine or Eurasian vine (Vitis vinifera) is a climbing shrub of the Vitaceae family.
It is the cultivated vine sensu lato of greater diffusion, currently present in all the continents except for the Antarctica. In Europe it is cultivated in central and southern regions; in Asia in the western regions (Anatolia, Caucasus, Middle East) and in China; in Africa in the northern regions and in South Africa; in North America in California, Mexico and some limited areas (New Mexico, New York State, British Columbia); in South America in Chile, Argentina, Uruguay, and Brazil. in Oceania in Australia and New Zealand.
SOME HISTORICAL SUMMARY
The first historical references to the vine and the wine are found among the Sumerians in the Gilgamesh Epic (3rd millennium BC). Testimonies of the cultivation of the vine are found in numerous Egyptian hieroglyphs, where the wine was a drink reserved for priests, senior officials and kings. It was the Greeks who introduced viticulture in Europe, already in the Minoan era. Hesiod, in The Works and the Days, describes in detail the practices of Harvest and vinification and there are numerous references to the vine and to wine also in Homer. The Greek colonists are responsible for the introduction of viticulture in Sicily and other areas of southern Italy, where the cultivation met ideal climatic conditions, to the point of making the region deserve the name Enotria. The Etruscans perfected the viticulture techniques considerably and developed an intense wine export activity, spreading it far beyond the Mediterranean basin.
The plant is a climbing shrub with habit generally determined by the breeding
system. The natural habit is irregular, with sparse
branching but very developed in length, even several meters. The spontaneous forms of the subspecies sylvestris are
climbers and the few branches are confused with the vegetation of the surrounding plants; the
inselvatichite forms of the subspecies vinifera show a stem more or less developed with procumbent or climbing branches according to the conditions, more or less densely branched.
The stem is more or less twisted and irregular,
of varying length, with persistent rhytidome which, forced by hand, is detached from the belt. The coloring, greyish in the branches of a year, becomes brown with the development of the
rhytidome. The vigor of the stem and the branches is strictly conditioned by the
rootstock. The wood has a brownish-yellowish color.
Branching originates from three types of gems. The buds develop from the dormant buds in the following spring; in the same year, second-order shoots are developed in the same year, commonly called "feminelle"; from the latent buds, which remain in quiescence for an indefinite number of years, more or less vigorous shoots develop, commonly called succhioni. The young branches in the herbaceous state are called shoots or vine pines, once lignified they are called shoots. The lignified shoots have a brown-yellowish color, with evident longitudinal striation; the knots are swollen and the internodes relatively short. At the nodes, on the shoots of the year, three different organs are inserted: the cirrus, the leaves, the inflorescences. The cirrus, commonly called tendrils, are supporting organs opposed to the leaves, which have a spiral-shaped development allowing the anchoring of the shoot to a support of any nature. In V. vinifera the cirri are branched and are formed in a discontinuous way: after two nodes provided with cirrus forms a third node is formed which is devoid of it. Initially they are herbaceous, then they lignify. In general they are not very persistent and after a year, or a little more, they come off the plant. Cirrus and inflorescences have the same origin, therefore they are homologous organs arranged in different positions along the shoot: in general the inflorescences develop in the basal nodes or in those close to the base, while the cirrus appear starting from the 8th-10th node . They are not infrequent mixed organs, usually formed as a result of irregular pollinations, with small clusters partly transformed into cirrus clouds.