Term (also vine water, vine blood) for the water-like wound sap that emerges in spring as a reaction to pruning. This is a protective mechanism in plants, because the sap contains highly effective disinfectants that prevent the penetration of bacteria and close the cut wounds with a resin plug. However, wounds inflicted on the plant during pruning, which is usually carried out during hibernation, do not start to "bleed" until the beginning of vegetation when budding starts. The supposed medicinal effect of vine tears was already known in ancient Rome. The scholar Pliny the Elder (23-79) reported on the juice, then called "Aqua vitis" or "Lachryma vitis", as a remedy for many skin diseases such as psoriasis and rashes, and mixed with olive oil as a depilatory.
In the Middle Ages, various vine products were used as remedies, including vine tears. The famous alternative practitioner Hildegard von Bingen (1098-1179) wrote about the positive effects on eye, ear and headaches. The monks used them as a remedy to prevent the regrowth of plucked hair at the back of the head (tonsure). And the city doctor of Colmar (Alsace) Johann Jacob Wecker (1528-1586) recommended them as a remedy against drunkenness: "Nimb vine water, so out of the cut off vine, mix it with the wine and give it to the wine-suffering unwanted to drink, so vergodt inen of lust to the wine". However, there is no scientific proof of its effectiveness. Today, cosmetics products such as face creams are also produced with it. See also under customs in viticulture and grapevine.
Picture: © Steffens-Keß Winery