One of about 30 American species or wild vines with the full botanical name Vitis vulpina L.. It was first described in 1753 by the Swedish natural scientist Carl von Linné (1707-1778). The name "vulpina" means "vixen", which refers to the foxton or strawberry clay. Trivial synonyms are Vixen Grape, Winter Grape or Frost Grape (because of frost hardness) and Suftrebe. A botanical synonym or old name is Vitis cordifolia. Together with the two species Vitis palmata and Vitis monticola the group Cordifoliae is formed. The vine is found in Canada (Ontario), as well as in many states in the eastern half of the USA. It thrives on riverbanks and floodplains on sandy and gravelly soils in sunny and cool locations and can climb 15 to 20 metres high with its foxy red tendrils.
The grapes with dark blue berries are incredibly loose berries. The fruits are very sour and only sweet and edible after frost. They produce a light red wine with mild tannins, high acidity and light foxtone. The wine-growing pioneer Philip Mazzei (1730-1816) was a neighbour of US President Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826) in Virginia and, like him, conducted experiments with native vines. Mazzei produced "colonial style" wine from Vitis vulpina. In a letter to the French Minister of State in 1783, Jefferson remarked about this wine: I prefer the wine from Vitis cordifolia. This is a true "spaghetti red" complimenting any acidic food. The vine is sometimes used as a table grape or ornamental vine. See also under American Vines and Vine System.