Sultana (grape)
The sultana is a type of white
White is a color, the perception of which is evoked by light that stimulates all three types of color sensitive cone cells in the human eye in nearly equal amounts and with high brightness compared to the surroundings. A white visual stimulation will be void of hue and grayness.White light can be...

, seedless grape
A grape is a non-climacteric fruit, specifically a berry, that grows on the perennial and deciduous woody vines of the genus Vitis. Grapes can be eaten raw or they can be used for making jam, juice, jelly, vinegar, wine, grape seed extracts, raisins, molasses and grape seed oil. Grapes are also...

 assumed to originate from the Turkish
Turkey , known officially as the Republic of Turkey , is a Eurasian country located in Western Asia and in East Thrace in Southeastern Europe...

, Greek, or Iran
Iran , officially the Islamic Republic of Iran , is a country in Southern and Western Asia. The name "Iran" has been in use natively since the Sassanian era and came into use internationally in 1935, before which the country was known to the Western world as Persia...

ian area. In some countries, especially Commonwealth
Commonwealth of Nations
The Commonwealth of Nations, normally referred to as the Commonwealth and formerly known as the British Commonwealth, is an intergovernmental organisation of fifty-four independent member states...

 countries, it is also the name given to the raisin
Raisins are dried grapes. They are produced in many regions of the world. Raisins may be eaten raw or used in cooking, baking and brewing...

 made from it; such sultana raisins are often called simply sultanas or sultanis. These are typically larger than Zante currant
Zante currant
The Zante currant , or currant are dried berries of small, sweet, seedless grape variety Black Corinth . The name comes from the Anglo-French phrase "raisins de Corinthe" and the Ionian island of Zakynthos , which was once the major producer and exporter...

s (which are actually a kind of dried grape, rather than true currant
Ribes is a genus of about 150 species of flowering plants native throughout the temperate regions of the Northern Hemisphere. It is usually treated as the only genus in the family Grossulariaceae. Seven subgenera are recognized....

s), but smaller than "normal" raisins. Sometimes, the name "sultana" is applied to all raisins, to the extent that the breakfast cereal known as Raisin Bran
Raisin Bran
Raisin bran is a breakfast cereal manufactured by several companies under a variety of brand names, including Kellogg's Raisin Bran; General Mills' Total Raisin Bran, a variant by General Mills called Raisin Nut Bran; and Ralcorp's Post Raisin Bran.-History:Skinner's Raisin Bran was the first...

 in the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 and most English speaking countries, is known as "Sultana Bran" in Australia
Australia , officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a country in the Southern Hemisphere comprising the mainland of the Australian continent, the island of Tasmania, and numerous smaller islands in the Indian and Pacific Oceans. It is the world's sixth-largest country by total area...


Sultana raisins are small, sweet and have a golden colour.


The sultana raisin was traditionally imported to the English-speaking world from the Ottoman Empire
Ottoman Empire
The Ottoman EmpireIt was usually referred to as the "Ottoman Empire", the "Turkish Empire", the "Ottoman Caliphate" or more commonly "Turkey" by its contemporaries...

. Turkey and Australia are major producers.

The sultana grape is cultivated in the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 under the name Thompson Seedless, named after William Thompson
William Thompson (viticulturist)
William Thompson was a viticulturist. He emigrated to California in 1863 and developed the Thompson Seedless table grape , which is also used for grape juice and wine, as well as 95% of the raisins produced in California....

, a viticulturist who was an early grower in California
California is a state located on the West Coast of the United States. It is by far the most populous U.S. state, and the third-largest by land area...

 and is sometimes credited with the variety's introduction. According to the U.S. Code of Federal Regulations
Code of Federal Regulations
The Code of Federal Regulations is the codification of the general and permanent rules and regulations published in the Federal Register by the executive departments and agencies of the Federal Government of the United States.The CFR is published by the Office of the Federal Register, an agency...

, the two names are synonymous, which means Sultanas are Thompson Seedless grapes. Virtually all of California raisin production (approximately 97% in 2000) and roughly one-third of California's total grape area is of this variety, making it the single most widely-planted variety.


In Anglo-America
Anglo-America is a region in the Americas in which English is a main language, or one which has significant British historical, ethnic, linguistic, and cultural links...

, most raisins, including those with the typical dark brown colour, are made from the sultana grape, more commonly called the Thompson Seedless. The term "sultana" is occasionally used to describe raisins. When it is, it refers to golden-coloured raisins, which may also be called "golden raisins". Any kind of grape may be used to produce golden raisins, and any kind of golden raisins from any kind of grape may be marketed as "sultanas". Moreover, the golden colour may owe to a treatment with sulfur dioxide
Sulfur dioxide
Sulfur dioxide is the chemical compound with the formula . It is released by volcanoes and in various industrial processes. Since coal and petroleum often contain sulfur compounds, their combustion generates sulfur dioxide unless the sulfur compounds are removed before burning the fuel...

 rather than traditional drying and preservation methods. Most non-organic sultana grapes in California and elsewhere are treated with the plant hormone gibberellin
Gibberellins are plant hormones that regulate growth and influence various developmental processes, including stem elongation, germination, dormancy, flowering, sex expression, enzyme induction, and leaf and fruit senescence....


In some jurisdictions, seedless dried grapes are classified as Sultana and Thompson raisins according to the drying method used. Sultanas are steeped in a solution of water, potassium carbonate and vegetable oil in order to hasten the drying process. Thompson raisins are not treated with this solution and are dried naturally and thus require more drying time than sultanas. Because of this, Thompsons are a darker colour than Sultanas.

Other uses

As well as serving as a snack food without further processing, sultana raisins are used in a variety of dishes and baking, such as in fruit-cakes and Bath buns, sometimes prepared by soaking in water, fruit juice, or alcohol. The sultana grape is even used to make white wine
Wine is an alcoholic beverage, made of fermented fruit juice, usually from grapes. The natural chemical balance of grapes lets them ferment without the addition of sugars, acids, enzymes, or other nutrients. Grape wine is produced by fermenting crushed grapes using various types of yeast. Yeast...

, where it is known for its "sweet blandness".

They are also referred to as the “three way grape” because it is used for table grapes, raisins and wine. In the United States it is the base for wine generically called “chablis” (named for the Chablis region of France). However, the wine made from this grape is not a true Chablis wine
Chablis wine
The Chablis region is the northernmost wine district of the Burgundy region in France. The grapevines around the town of Chablis are almost all Chardonnay, making a dry white wine renowned for the purity of its aroma and taste. The northern location along the 48th parallel north places Chablis at...

. The name Chablis is protected in the European Union. For wine sold in the EU, "Chablis" refers only to wine made from the Chardonnay
Chardonnay is a green-skinned grape variety used to make white wine. It is originated from the Burgundy wine region of eastern France but is now grown wherever wine is produced, from England to New Zealand...

 grape produced in the region of Yonne département.

It is also the most planted grape in California due to its triple use.

Sultana grape juice was fraudulently sold as being of Chardonnay
Chardonnay is a green-skinned grape variety used to make white wine. It is originated from the Burgundy wine region of eastern France but is now grown wherever wine is produced, from England to New Zealand...

grapes in Australia for wine making, due to the lower cost of Sultana grapes. The fraud was discovered in 2003 by Australian Wine and Brandy Corporation. It was considered the largest case of wine deception in Australian history.
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