December 13, 2023 by
Maytte Rivera

Ampelography is the study and classification of grape varieties based on the shape and color of the vine leaves, shoots, fruit, seeds and pulp.  Deriving from the Greek word “ampelos” (vine) and “graphe” (description), this field of botany became popular during the 19th century because of the need to understand the vines and how they are affected by diseases and pests.  During the 1950’s, Pierre Galet, one of the world’s most famous ampelographers, published Cépages et vignobles de France, a four-volume catalogue detailing hundreds of French grape varieties.

Twenty years earlier, in 1932 in Madrid, Don Miguel Comenge, a professor and doctor in pharmacy, had already compiled the first deep study of Spanish grape varieties describing their origin, color, flavor profile, and other characteristics.  To this day, his book La Vid y los Vinos Españoles, is used in universities around the country as guide to the expansive world of viticulture and ampelography.  Bodegas Comenge, his family’s winery in Ribera del Duero, honors his achievements with their wine Don Miguel Reserva, an organic tempranillo that is only made in exceptional vintages.

Author: Maytte Rivera

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