The California grape is a large deciduous vine with thick woody stems and coarse foliage that can quickly grow to 30-40 ft. in size. Large medium green leaves have coarsely cut lobes and margins; these turn colorful yellow and red in the fall. Edible purple grapes from 1/4 in. to 3/4 in. dia. grow in large clusters and ripen in summer.
California grape is native to foothill and valley habitats below 3,000 ft. in elevation from Oregon through northern and central California. Throughout this range it is adapted to cold winters, warm summers and places where summer moisture can be found. It commonly spreads as an understory plant over the ground in both sun and shade, and easily climbs over shrubs and into trees. The native species is a valuable habitat plant within natural settings and is increasingly being planted in ornamental gardens on and trellises and shade structures. One popular cultivar, V. c. ‘Roger’s Red’ grows to 25-30 ft. in size and produces bright red leaf color in the fall. These are robust and large vines that need a lot of space to grow.