|— Unincorporated community —|
|Elevation||1,499 ft (457 m)|
|Official name: Top of Grapevine Pass|
Grapevine is an unincorporated community in Kern County, California, at the southern end of the San Joaquin Valley. At an elevation of 1499 feet (457 m), the community is located at the foot of a road grade known as The Grapevine that starts at the mouth of Grapevine Canyon, immediately south of the community, and ascends the canyon to the Tejon Pass in the Tehachapi Mountains via Interstate 5 (formerly U.S. Route 99). The village consists mainly of roadside services. The village and grade are named, not for the once-winding road known as the Grapevine that used to climb the steep mountain canyon, but for the canyon it passed through with its wild grapes that still grow along the original road. Its Spanish name was La Cañada de las Uvas. The grade of the Grapevine was infamous for its high accident rate before the road was straightened and widened. There are escape ramps branching off both sides of the downward part of the road for heavy trucks whose brakes fail on this very long, 6% steep and now straight grade. The road is still occasionally closed due to heavy snowfall during winter storms. It has also been closed for fire. As the Grapevine is the major route between Northern and Southern California, any closure is a major disruption to traffic along the West Coast.
In 1955, Charlie Ryan wrote and performed a popular song known as "Hot Rod Lincoln", about a kid who races his souped-up Lincoln against a Cadillac up the Grapevine Hill. While he never drove up the Grapevine, this song was inspired by his own experience racing (and getting arrested for it) his buddy between Coeur D'Alene and Lewiston, Idaho. The song was an answer to the 1951 song Hot Rod Race by Arkie Shibley referring to the same stretch of road in central California. In Shibley's song, a Ford and a Mercury raced dead even through the night until both were passed like they were standing still by a kid in a Model A Ford. Charlie Ryan actually owned a hot rod which consisted of a 1948 Lincoln 12-cylinder chassis shortened two feet and clad in a Model A Ford body, a hot rod that likely could trounce the Fords and Mercurys of the day.
- U.S. Geological Survey Geographic Names Information System: Grapevine, California
- "Top of Grapevine Pass". Office of Historical Preservation, California State Parks. Retrieved 2012-10-07.
- Durham, David L. (1998). California's Geographic Names: A Gazetteer of Historic and Modern Names of the State. Quill Driver Books. p. 1042. ISBN 9781884995149.
- The Mountain Enterprise local newspaper serving readers of Grapevine and some other small communities.