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The red grape variety comes from the USA; it is named after the river of the same name in North Carolina or Sioux Indian tribe. Synonyms are Arkansas, Catalan, Catalan Rojo, Catalan Roxo, Catawba Rosa, Cher Kee, Cherokee, Fanches, Francher, Francher Kello White, Francher Kells White, Lebanon, Lebanon Seedling, Lichigan, Lincoln, Mammoth Catawba, Meads Seedling, Mecleron, Merceron, Michigan, Muncy, Muncy Pale Red, Munipale Red, Omega, Red Muncy, Rose of Tennessee, Red Captraube, Saratoga, Singleton, Tekomah, Tokay and Virginia Amber. Along with Concord, Norton and Scuppernong, it is one of the most important American vines. The botanist Liberty Hyde Bailey (1858-1954) called the Catawba grape "the first great American grape". The origin of the variety was long unclear or there were several partly contradictory assumptions. Parenthood was not determined until 2016 at the Julius Kühn Institute (Geilweilerhof) by DNA analysis. The variety originates from a cross between a wild Vitis labrusca (which was always suspected to be the parent) x Sémillon. It can also be a deliberate cross or new breeding. Furthermore it turned out that Catawba is a parent of the famous Concord. Catawba was also a crossbreeding partner of the new breed Woodruff. The varieties Catawba White, Diana (3) and To Kalon are open flowered seedlings.

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