What are indigenous grapes?

An indigenous (sometimes called autochthonous) grape variety is one that is said to originate in, or be traditionally associated with, a specific region. The history is often relatively recent, so many wine regions were once planted with dozens, even hundreds, of grape varieties, but the vast majority have disappeared and since been replaced by international varieties. Such grapes might also once have been combined into a field blend rather than been vinified as mono-varietals. Indigenous grapes are seen to have a connection with place, being particularly suited to the particularity of climate or soil. Indigenous grapes sometimes form the basis for the appellation. Whilst now the term is used in a more general sense to refer to varieties that are associated with a place, there is a desire amongst some growers to rediscover the wines and wine styles that previous generations consumed, as a result of which ancient and rare varietals are being replanted.

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