Our Vineyard: Muscadine and Scuppernong
If you did not grow up in the southern United States, you probably have not heard or tasted a muscadine. When I was much younger, I can recall finding and eating muscadines in the wild that was a real treat as a child. However, wild muscadines cannot compare to the cultivated ones now available. The farmed ones are not only huge but taste great and they are good for you too.
Muscadines cover a spectrum of colorful shades, there are two primary color types – black (purple) and bronze. The bronze are typically referred to as “Scuppernong” but Scuppernong is a specific type of that is bronze. Bottom line they are all good.
Muscadines grow wild in the southern United States but domesticated varieties have come a long way from their ancestors. Even though muscadine vines do not grow proper in California vineyards, their roots are used as grafting stock. Muscadine is a tough plant that hast natural pest and disease resistance, which makes it one of the preferred choices onto which viticulturists graft other species. Unlike, table grapes that ripen simultaneously in a pendulous bunch, muscadines ripen individually in loose clusters. Compared to other grapes species, muscadine grapevines may produce almost eight-fold yields of other grapes. While bunch grapes yield, approximately 8 pounds of fruit per vine muscadines may produce up to 60 pounds (in excellent conditions).
Scuppernong is a bronze grape that was the first muscadine cultivar, so-named because of its discovery along the Scuppernong River in North Caroline. The original mother vine is on Roanoke Island, where it has been growing and producing for several hundred years. Because of its botanical primogeniture, the common name scuppernong entered usage to refer to any bronze muscadine grape. Botanical correctness dictates that “Scuppernong” should only designate the cultivar and not all color types.