Definition - What does Mission Grape mean?
The Mission grape is a variety of the species Vitis vinifera which was introduced to the west coasts of North and South America from Spain by Catholic missionaries. It was used to make sacramental wines, common table wines and fortified wines.
The mission grape did not make up just one color genre of wine, but included those grapes brought by Spanish Catholic missionaries which were red and white.
WineFrog explains Mission Grape
The mission grape(s) made wines of red and white, both sweet or dry, brandy and Angelica (a fortified wine). The wine was mainly for common table wine and it was found that it was lacking much character. Thus, it fell out of popularity.
Until 1850, the Mission grape, also called Criolla, made up all of California vineyards. Today there are only around 1000 acres of mission grape vineyards in the entire state.
The Mission grape (as a sole individual varietal) was the first to be grown in Europe as well as the Americas. However, it has almost completely disappeared. It has been discovered that its DNA matches another Spanish variety called Listan Prieto, also called Palomino, an essential grape for making Sherry.