One of about 30 American species or wild vines with the complete botanical name Vitis riparia Michx. It was first described and catalogued in 1802 by the French botanist André Michaux (1746-1802), who for this reason is immortalised in the botanical name. Together with the two species Vitis acerifolia and Vitis rupestris it forms the group Ripariae. Trivial synonyms include Bermuda Wine, Scented Grape, Frost Grape, Riverbank Grape, Riparian Grape, Vid Americana and Videira Americana. Vitis riparia is the most common wild vine species of all Vitis species in North America and is found mainly in southern Canada and most of the states of the United States, except the southernmost.
A vigorous liana that climbs high on trees, it thrives very well in cooler areas on damp alluvial soils along wooded riverbanks, on river islands, in gorges, and is therefore also known as riparian vine or river vine. The advantages of the species are a relatively short vegetation cycle, high frost resistance (up to an incredible minus 50°), very good resistance to powdery and downy mildew, and (though not fully) to phylloxera. A disadvantage is the low lime tolerance. Crossings with the species Vitis berlandieri resulted in numerous, quite successful rootstocks.
Vitis riparia vines were used in the rootstock breeding Riparia Gloire de Montpellier (one of the very first phylloxera-resistant rootstocks ever) and in the famous Kober 5 BB, which was one of the first rootstocks to achieve worldwide importance. New varieties with Vitis riparia genes are the varieties Baco Blanc, Baco Noir, Beta, Cascade, Castor, Chelois, Clinton, Elvira, Frontenac, L'Acadie Blanc, Landot Noir, Léon Millot, Missouri Riesling, Maréchal Foch, Noah, Othello, Saphira, Siegfriedrebe. See also under American Vines and Vine System.