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Trauben, Weintraube and Tafeltrauben all refers to grape.

But strangely, in Wikipedia, it says "Tafeltrauben sind Weintrauben ..." and Weintrauben sind die Fruchtstände der Weinreben, ... but there's no entry for Trauben (source: https://www.google.com.sg/search?q=trauben)

And die Reben refers to fruits that grow on vines and its synonym is Weinreben. But why is that so?

Is it because in German they differentiate between Reben that can be made into wine and Reben that can't? If so, what is an example of Reben that can't be made into wine?

From the dictionary, they all translate to "bunch of grapes".

Is it right to say that

  • the canonical/botanical name for grapes in German is Weintrauben and
  • the shorten form is Trauben which can form rote Trauben?
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  • 1
    Where does "RoteTrauben" come from? "rote Weintrauben", "grüne Weintrauben", "blaue Weintrauben" etc. all exist. Jul 20, 2015 at 22:20
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    Well, there also is Menschentraube which refers to a bunch of people whereas, like you say, a characteristic bunch of grapes (that have grown together) is a Rebe. I’m not sure you could use that with applicable berries, too, e.g. ?Johannisbeerrebe.
    – Crissov
    Jul 21, 2015 at 7:59
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    @Crissov Definitively Johannisbeertraube or -rispe. In Swabian dialect currants are even called "Träuble" (little grapes).
    – Stephie
    Jul 21, 2015 at 19:36
  • @Stephie Rispe, yes of course. It’s probably closely related to Rebe, though.
    – Crissov
    Jul 21, 2015 at 19:42

3 Answers 3

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I recommend you actually read the Wikipedia pages that you cite.

On the page for Tafeltrauben it clearly says that these are for eating, not for wine making. So Tafeltraube is a special kind of Weintraube. Wikipedia also explains that these are usually larger, have no or few seeds, and a soft skin. AFAIK they also have more sugar and less acidity, which is nice for eating, but not so great for wine making.

There may not be a Wikipedia entry for Trauben, but for the singular form, Traube: https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Traube Not sure what the Google link has to do with that.

I don't think there is a "canonical" name; people will understand both Trauben and Weintrauben. There may be regional differences in what's more common where.

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It is surprisingly simple:

Traube

Botanically this is a type of plant with many, many members. Ironically, it doesn't include Weintrauben. This only concerns biologists. The other people use it as if it meant the fruit of "Weinrebe", the English grape. This word also describes anything clustered like grapes.

Weinrebe

is the genus vitis, i.e. the plant producing grapes. This is the only word the normal person would differentiate from the rest, in that it means the plant and not its fruit.

Weintraube

The fruit of a certain Weinrebe subspecies used to make wine. For normal people the same as Traube.

Tafeltraube

Special grape for eating. The word is rare and probably used consciously.

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  • I would add that it’s possible for people to say Traube both meaning Weintraube and other fruit that grows in a Traube-like manner. And a Traube can be used figuratively as is the case for Menschentraube. Other than that +1.
    – Jan
    Jul 27, 2015 at 16:13
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It's also a regional thing. In some areas, the everyday word for grape is "Weintraube" wheras other areas simply refer to the fruit as "Traube".

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