Vertically well aligned and highly dense ZnO nanowires (NWs) have been grown on biaxially textured Ni substrates by a simple thermal evaporation technique over a large area without using any catalyst. The grown ZnO NWs have crystallized in wurtzite hexagonal structure and have grown along  direction. It is also observed that the degree of vertical alignment of NWs increases with increasing growth temperature. An intense photoluminescence peak at 383 nm with a negligible deep band emission revealed the good crystalline quality of ZnO NWs. Field emission properties of the grown NWs have been examined and a field enhancement factor of 1573 has been obtained, indicating the suitability of grown nanowires for field emission applications.