We know that wine comes from grapes. We are familiar with many of the most common grape varieties, such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Tempranillo, Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay. There are many, many more grape varieties that are used in wine. For the most part, these grapes belong to the species vitis vinifera.

 

Vitis vinifera

Vitis vinifera grape vines produce grapes that are used for making wine, for eating and for drying to produce raisins. When it comes to making wine, the grape seeds are important and can contribute structure and tannin. For eating, consumers generally prefer the produce of a seedless grape vine as seeds are difficult or unpleasant to eat. Eating seedless grapes is also safer for children, as it reduces the risk of choking.

 

Seedless grape vine types

A grape grower may cultivate a seedless grape vine in order to meet this consumer need when it comes to edible table grapes. Some of the most popular of these varieties include:

  • Black Monukka
  • Canadice
  • Concord Seedless
  • Fantasy Seedless
  • Himrod
  • Jupiter
  • Lakemonts

Learn more about seedless grape vine varieties and their individual characteristics here.

 

Making wine with a seedless grape vine

Seedless grapes are popular for eating, then, so how about in winemaking? Seedless eating grapes tend to be bigger than seeded wine grapes. Wine grapes are more delicate and smaller. The skins and pips contain tannin which contributes to making structured wines capable of long ageing. Seedless grapes lack this characteristic and as such would not make great wines. Though it would be possible to make a wine with seedless grapes, the result would not be very good. You should expect a wine from a seedless grape vine to lack structure and flavour, two crucial aspects of a great wine. Our advice is that though it is possible, winemakers and consumers should probably just stick to wines made from such well-established, seeded grape varieties as those mentioned above.

 

Wines to try instead

  • Cabernet Sauvignon wines. The Cabernet Sauvignon grape is a relatively small grape with a thick skin. It ripens relatively late in the growing cycle, generally harvested after Merlot in Bordeaux. The grape’s makeup and seed tend to make full-bodied wines that are high in tannin. This gives structure and ageability, and indeed can mean that the wines are not always easy to drink in their youth. Try an aged example of the Cabernet grape, such as Mas Rodo Cabernet Sauvignon 2008, from the Penedès region, which will offer a lot of structure while still being accessible and delicious.
  • Tempranillo wines. Tempranillo grapes ripen early and are less aromatic than many of the other popular red grapes, such as Cabernet and Merlot. Its flavour profile is relatively neutral, and many Tempranillo wines are produced using extended oak aging such as in Spanish wine regions like Rioja, Ribera del Duero and Toro. The grape is relatively low in acidity and sugar content. As a result Tempranillo is often blended with other grapes to balance out its character, though many top producers are making single varietal Tempranillo wines. One such producer is Bodegas Numanthia in Toro. Numanthia 2010 is proof that Tempranillo is great as a single varietal wine.

Read Wine Spectator’s advice on making wine from a seedless grape vine here.

 

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