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The science of grape varieties (ampelos = Greek vine) is a branch of oenology. According to Greek mythology, the first vine sprouted from the body of the satyr Ampelos, who was killed while hunting. His companion Dionysus first planted it in a bird's bone. When this became too small, he planted it in a lion's bone and finally in a donkey's bone. In this way, he could take the vine with him wherever he went. Differentiating between grape varieties was already attempted in Roman antiquity, and Pliny the Elder (23-79 A.D.) discovered that different regional names often concealed one and the same variety. From the later Middle Ages, lists with the names of regionally cultivated grape varieties have survived. However, the descriptions are often imprecise, so that one can only speculate about the actual grape varieties.

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