This woody perennial vine is up to 40' long, branching occasionally. It usually climbs over small trees, shrubs, or fence rows, otherwise it sprawls across the ground. A mature vine will develop a woody base with shaggy bark; younger branches are more slender and less shaggy. The non-woody branchlets are more or less covered with appressed hairs that are white or grey; these branchlets are often irregularly angular. The alternate leaves are up to 8" long and 6" across, although they are usually smaller. A typical mature leaf is cordate-orbicular in shape, dentate along its margins, and deeply indented at its base. The upper surface of this leaf is dull green, while its lower surface is densely covered with white cobwebby hairs that. A typical immature leaf is densely covered with white cobwebby hairs on both surfaces; its lower surface is often conspicuously white. The leaves are often divided into 3 lobes that are shallow and broad; they never have deep lobes. The petiole of each leaf is quite long and more or less covered with appressed hairs like the branchlets. Across from each leaf (except every third one), there is a single tendril and a multiple panicle of flowers or fruits. The small flowers are yellowish green, consisting of 5 petals, 5 tiny sepals, and 5 stamens. These flowers can be perfect (bisexual), staminate (male), or pistillate (female); sometimes the staminate and pistillate flowers occur on separate plants. The blooming period occurs during the late spring and lasts about 2 weeks. There is a strong floral scent that is quite sweet. Each pistillate or perfect flower is replaced by an ovoid fruit containing 1-3 brown seeds. Initially this fruit is small and green, but it eventually becomes larger (about 3/8" long), juicy, and black. The black surface of the fruit lacks a whitish bloom. The fruits of Winter Grape are sweet-tart when mature and edible. Each seed is 3-5 mm. in length. The root system consists of a taproot that is branching and woody. This plant spreads by reseeding itself.