Expert says: A strange grape, that grape...

Expert says: A strange grape, that grape...

Part 1: crossbreeding and cloning

The grape is a special plant. In a short series, our in-house expert Huib van Edixhoven introduces you in detail to the vitis vinifera. In this WINELIFE, he tells you all about the malleability of the grape. - TEXT HUIB EDIXHOVEN

Remember, from biology class, the difference between species and breed? A horse and a donkey are fairly similar in appearance, but belong to different species. A chihuahua and a German shepherd, on the other hand, differ considerably in appearance, but belong to the same species. The difference lies in the fact that conspecifics can have fertile offspring together. So a chihuahua and a German shepherd can have healthy, fertile offspring. It even seems that the wolf and the chihuahua belong to the same species. Imagine the tiny but life-threatening chihuahua wolf. Although it is a prerequisite that the wolf is hornier than hungry ánd, no less important of course, that performing 'the deed' is physically possible.


Yet members of different species can also have offspring. The difference is that these offspring are not fertile. Well-known are crosses between the aforementioned horse and donkey. Depending on whether the horse is the mother or father, we refer to this as a mule or a mule. However, neither of these animals can have offspring - hence the species ends here. This strange tweak by Mother Nature, by the way, produces a whole slew of unusual beasts. These so-called hybrids are all descendants of animals that are not averse to an adventure with another species. The name usually speaks volumes. So there are ligers, jag lions, waltzes, ice grizzlies and - yes really - farts. Anyway, fun facts for drinks, but a bit too far astray. Quickly back to the natural centrepiece of the drinks table: wine, and more specifically, the grape. Even in grape country, there are distinctions between different varieties. Wine is actually always made from the vitis vinifera, or wine-making grape. But there are also other vitis varieties. These are also grapes, but not or less suitable for making wine. They, once fermented into wine, simply do not taste as good.

Curious about the whole article? You can find it in Winelife Magazine, edition #71. Order this one here. 

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