Simple wines can be made from almost any fruit; strawberry, rhubarb and blueberry wines are sold at many farmers’ markets. In contrast, fine wines such as Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon are made exclusively from wine grapes grown on a specific species of vine called Vitis vinifera.
Vitis vinifera originated in the Old World -- in the traditional grape growing countries such as France, Italy, Germany and Spain. Because these vines produce such outstanding grapes, they have been planted worldwide, and now account for most of the wine grapes grown in the New World -- in North and South America, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa.
Different varieties of Vitis vinifera produce different grape...