What does ampelography study?
Ampelography (ἄμπελος, "vine" + γράφος, "writing") is the field of botany concerned with the identification and classification of grapevines, Vitis spp. Traditionally this has been done by comparing the shape and colour of the vine leaves and grape berries; more recently the study of vines has been revolutionised by DNA fingerprinting.
The grapevine is an extremely variable species and some varieties, such as Pinot, mutate particularly frequently. At the same time, the wine and table grape industries have been important since ancient times, so large sums of money can depend on the correct identification of different varieties and clones of grapevines.
The science of ampelography began seriously in the 19th century, when it became important to understand more about the different species of vine, as they had very different resistance to disease and pests such as phylloxera.
Many vine identification books were published at this time, one of which is Victor Rendu's Ampélographie française of 1857, featuring hand-colored lithographs by Eugene Grobon.