There is little information about seed dormancy release and germination behaviour in Vitis amurensis, which is one of the most important wild Vitis species. This work aimed to investigate the dormancy release and germination characteristics and their variation in V. amurensis seed. Seed dormancy was released by: (1) stratification at 5, 10, 15, 20, 25 and 15/5°C, respectively; (2) stratification at 25°C followed by stratification at 5°C; (3) 5°C stratification before or after seed drying; and (4) stratification at a series of relative humidities (RHs) at 5 and 25°C. The freshly harvested and dormancy-released seeds were germinated at three fluctuating and four constant temperatures. In V. amurensis: (1) dormancy release could occur at temperature ≤ 25°C, but was maximal at 5°C for all varieties; (2) dormancy release and induction occurred simultaneously during stratification; (3) the rates of dormancy release and induction were dependent on temperature; (4) seed moisture content affected dormancy release with a temperature-dependent pattern; (5) seeds germinated better at fluctuating temperature than at constant temperature. However, the optimum condition for stratification and germination, the rates of dormancy release and induction, and the response of seeds to warm stratification, to drying and to germination temperature varied significantly among the V. amurensis varieties. Our data imply that seed dormancy and germination in V. amurensis not only have intra-species similarity, but also vary within species, which may be due to differences in environmental conditions at the original growth and cultivated sites.