UNLABELLED PREMISE OF THE STUDY This work represents the first molecular phylogeny of the economically important genus Vitis, an important genetic resource for breeding in grapevine, Vitis vinifera. • METHODS A molecular phylogeny of Vitis using a combined data set of three noncoding regions of the plastid DNA genome was constructed from 47 accessions covering 30 species of Vitis. The data for the trnL-F marker were combined with previously published data across the Vitaceae. • KEY RESULTS The molecular phylogeny demonstrated monophyly of the genus Vitis. Based on the combined analysis of three genes, Vitis is split into three clades that mirror the continental distribution of these accessions. The diversity is highest in the Asian clade, but the general genetic distances across taxa from different continents are relatively small. • CONCLUSIONS The findings support a relatively recent and intense gene flow between East Asia and North America and the possible impact of hybridization on the evolution of the genus Vitis. Taxon identity in important stock collections should be screened carefully because roughly 10% of the accessions analyzed in the present study had been misidentified.