A Vitis riparia genomic library was screened for the presence of (GA)n simple sequence repeats (SSR) and 18 primer pairs yielding amplification products of the expected size were designed. Heterologous amplification with the primer pairs in related species (V. rupestris, V. berlandieri, V. labrusca, V. cinerea, V. aestivalis, V. vinifera, and interspecific hybrids) was successful in most primer-species combinations. Therefore, the new markers are applicable to the genotyping of a range of Vitis species. Variations in the SSR flanking sequence were detected between and within the species. The degree of polymorphism and performance of the markers were determined in up to 120 individuals of V. vinifera. Four of fifteen alleles per locus were detected and expected heterozygosity ranged between 0.37 and 0.88. Null alleles were shown to be present at two loci by a lack of heterozygous individuals and by transmission of the null alleles in a controlled cross. Regular Mendelian inheritance is indicated for all but one loci by a preliminary segregation analysis in 36 offspring. Thirteen of the markers were found suitable for the genotyping of grapevines (V. vinifera).