U.S. # 5038
2016 5c Pinot Noir Grapes- Coil
A member of the genus Vitis, grapes have been cultivated for thousands of years. The fruits grow on woody, climbing vines; botanically, they are berries with a juicy, pulpy interior covered with an outer skin. According to the Department of Agriculture, 7.8 million tons of grapes were grown commercially in the United States in 2014.
Viticulture — the cultivation of grapes — dates to the very beginning of civilization. Grape cultivation is mentioned in the Old Testament, when Noah, after the flood, planted a vineyard. Ancient Egyptian hieroglyphs include references to wine production dating back millennia, and archaeologists have found caches of wine amphorae in Greek and Phoenician shipwrecks.
The pinot noir grapes pictured on the stamp art are aptly named. The deep-purple fruit — noir, French for “black” — grow in tight clusters shaped like a pinecone; pinot is a variant of pineau, the diminutive of pin, which means “pine” in French. The name refers to both the grape and the wine it produces.
Believed to be one of the oldest cultivated grapes in the Vitis genus, the pinot noir grape is also one of the most difficult to grow. The thin-skinned fruit suffers from a variety of diseases, is sensitive to soil conditions and the size of the crop yield, and is difficult to ripen. The harvested grapes are also delicate and require careful handling — but grown in ideal conditions and treated properly after harvesting, they produce one of the most highly prized and elegant wines in the world.
The famous red-wine grape was once thought to grow well only in Burgundy, France, but it is now successfully grown in cooler climates around the world, including areas of the United States — northern California, New York and Oregon — among others.
Value: 5 cents
Issued: February 19, 2016
First Day City: Kansas City, MO
Type of Stamp: Definitive
Printed by: Ashton Potter
Method: Offset with microprinting in coils of 10,000
Quantity Printed: 150,000,000 stamps