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Ancient grape varieties

Many of today's grape varieties probably carry genetic material from old vines, which were already cultivated in ancient times by the Greeks, Romans and Phoenicians. However, most of the traditional grape varieties that still exist today probably did not emerge from the then existing varieties until the Middle Ages or later centuries. Most of the ancient grape varieties had a blue or black berry colour. The red, yellow and green varieties only developed later through mutation and were preserved by vegetative propagation as independent colour varieties. Thus Pinot Blanc, Pinot Gris and Pinot Meunier were created by bud mutations on Pinot. Which varieties were actually cultivated by the Romans can only be guessed at today, because there is nothing but Latin names and rough descriptions of the Roman varieties. The map shows the Roman Empire at the time of its greatest expansion at the end of the reign of Emperor Hadrian (53-117).

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