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 [0001] 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.