Appalachia Wildflowers & Trees Of Appalachia

Who Knew Grapevines Have Water In Them?

Trimming trees to let more sunlight into the garden

One evening last week, we helped Pap cut a few trees and scrub that had grown high enough to shade part of the big garden.

Let more sunlight into the garden by cutting trees

The Deer Hunter sawed trees while the rest of us piled brush and loaded the truck with wood that was big enough to burn.

Hunting lizards

Of course being so close to the creek…

Looking for spring lizards

The girls had to take time to make some new friends.

Getting water to drink from grapevines

While we were working I kept feeling drops of water falling-almost like rain. As I looked up I saw the drops were coming from vines. The tops of the trees along the creek are full of wild grapes, we call them fox grapes. As The Deer Hunter cut trees, he cut through many vines as well.

Drinking water from grapevines

Once I realized where the drops were coming from-I showed everyone else. Since it’s spring of the year I thought the drops were sap, but Pap said it was water. He said when he was a boy it was common knowledge that wild grapevines contained water.

Pap said if they were out playing or hunting in the woods they would cut a grapevine and drink from it. Not because there wasn’t other water around to drink, but because it was a fun thing to do.

I was amazed at how much water came out of the vines and how fast it came out. In a matter of minutes, you could have filled a cup full. I thought wild grapevines were great to eat from and to swing on, but who knew you could drink from them too.

A quick google search will provide you with more information about water and grapevines.


This post was originally published here on the Blind Pig in March of 2010.

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  • Reply
    Carl Mullin
    May 7, 2016 at 9:33 am

    In our neck of the woods they are called opossum grapes, I guess I’m talking about the same thing!

  • Reply
    Sandra at Thistle Cove Farm
    June 14, 2015 at 4:34 pm

    Fox grape jelly is the first thing I ever learned to can…49 years ago.
    Good times, good memories.

  • Reply
    March 22, 2015 at 9:22 am

    A handy tip! Wild grapes are a blessing and a curse here…a blessing for the aroma of grapes ripening which leads you to the vines, and the grapes themselves, and the vines for making basket handles and such, and of course the importance as food for wildlife…but a curse when you have to get from Here to There and a heavy thicket of grapes is in between!

  • Reply
    Rev. RB
    March 21, 2015 at 11:08 pm

    I suppose most anything with a trunk, vine or stem produces moisture because that’s how the plants transport water throughout their system. The good trick is, knowing which is safe to imbibe and which isn’t.
    Our Dad was good knowing that stuff. Me, not so much anymore. I know this now though, thanks to your blog. ;o)
    God bless.

  • Reply
    b. Ruth
    March 21, 2015 at 5:41 pm

    I love Fox Grapes. I love those big vines hanging all around in the woods…We used to swing from them when we were kids…
    I love salamanders…I love getting in the creek and turning rocks over to hunt the little boogers…Look out for crawdads…that scoot backwards toward your toes…
    I like grapevine water…don’t let a novice cut you a piece of vine…Poison ivy grows thick vines up trees too…only they are usually hairy and cling tight to the tree…
    I love that white blooming tree in front of Deer Hunter…I do believe it to be a Sarvis Tree?
    Thanks Tipper,

  • Reply
    Bob Aufdemberge
    March 21, 2015 at 4:04 pm

    When we were kids out roaming the woods, my brother and I would often cut into a grapevine, the thicker the better, for a refreshing drink. I think we found out about this by accident when trimming away some vines.
    We also found that you could smoke dead grapevine. Just cut or break off a cigar-sized piece and light up, if well-dried it would draw very well. I think we probably learned this trick from some other kids.

  • Reply
    Ethelene Dyer Jones
    March 21, 2015 at 3:58 pm

    We used to swing on wild grape vines, and pick the grapes from fox grapes in the fall to make grape juice and grape jelly. But I can’t remember our siphoning the juice (water) out of the vines to drink. Maybe my elders did and I wasn’t aware of this source of water. Thanks for teaching me something new and interesting!

  • Reply
    March 21, 2015 at 12:05 pm

    A few years ago, when you and the
    girls was in Kentucky cloggin’, the Deer Hunter and I sawed a bunch of Birch trees above my house. Some were near the creek and as he was sawing, water just poured out. We were so amazed, didn’t think of catching those gallons of Birch Beer. But after some fell up the creek, he snaked ’em out into the
    open with his 4 wheel drive Chevy
    I shouldn’t tell this, but I will: On his way home, loaded
    to the brim, a cop gave him a
    speeding ticket just before he got home. We had a fun day tho.

  • Reply
    March 21, 2015 at 11:52 am

    Your blog is always so chock full of helpful information. For whatever reason, I have always wondered what all I could do to survive in the wilderness. There is a world of information on the web about edible wild plants. Now I find the forest or “woods” is graced by a water source in those wild grapes. This makes me curious about grape vines in the winter–possibly a spring thing when the liquid is rising. Once you think about it, those juicy grapes have to get their juiciness from vines that are very long.
    Through the years I often heard stories about this or that unlucky one breaking some bone while swinging. Grape vines were once the fun of choice when exploring these mountains.
    Those young ladies certainly are brave, as I don’t recall even the younger boys picking up anything except a ‘fishing worm.” Oops forgot I was traumatized by the memory of an older distant “show offy” cousin swinging a harmless snake around until its head flew off.

  • Reply
    Ed Ammons
    March 21, 2015 at 10:53 am

    I knew grapevines had water in them. Concord grapes are a cultivar of Fox grapes. As a child Fox grapes were all we knew. Gathered for jelly or eaten raw. Pinch the end opposite the stem and squirt the inside in your mouth. Then chew on the skin ’cause thats where the flavor is. Waller it all around in your mouth then spit out the seeds.
    I don’t have any fox grapes right here but I do have muscadines which I can’t get rid of. I might have to test them for water later in the spring.

  • Reply
    Bill Burnett
    March 21, 2015 at 9:40 am

    Growing up we were blessed by an abundance of wild grapes, muscadines and wild plums growing along the banks of the Little Tennessee river which our farm bordered. We swung on the vines, drank water from them and harvested the fruit of all three which Mom turned into jellies and jams which when added to fresh butter on a hot biscuit made the work of gathering the fruit worthwhile. Sadly when beaver were re-introduced to the river it turned out that they loved the grapevines and they were the first things they cut There are a few vines left but nowhere near the abundance there was when I was young.

  • Reply
    March 21, 2015 at 8:50 am

    Dolores Miss Cindy – The water tastes like water : ) Yes the grapes are edible-they make wonderful grape jelly!
    Blind Pig The Acorn
    Celebrating and Preserving the
    Culture of Appalachia

  • Reply
    March 21, 2015 at 8:48 am

    When I was young, I used to cut grapevines and rinse my hair in the liquid. The older folks called it grapevine juice and swore it would make your hair grow. I don’t know if all that’s true, but from the time I was a teenager until I was in my late twenties I always wore my hair below my waist. My oldest daughter never used grapevine juice and she had hair longer than mine.

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    March 21, 2015 at 8:06 am

    That’s actually pretty amazing. How does the water taste? Do regular tame grapevines have as much water in them as the wild grapes do?

  • Reply
    March 21, 2015 at 8:05 am

    That was very interesting. I wasn’t aware of wild grape vines storing water. I guess it helps if there is a drought. Are those wild grapes eatable for humans? Can they be used for jellies, jams? What color are they? I think I need to google my questions. Oh, whoever is holding that squiggly thing, don’t ask me to hold one of them. Yikes!

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