Vineyard - Muscadine (Vitis rotundifolia)
Vitis rotundifolia, or muscadine, is a grapevine species native to the southeastern and south-central United States from Florida to Delaware, west to eastern Texas and Oklahoma.
It has been extensively cultivated since the 16th century. The plants are well adapted to their native warm and humid climate; they need fewer chilling hours than better known varieties and they thrive on summer heat.
Muscadines are Native
When exploring the forest surrounding Walkers Mill Vineyard & Winery, a vast number of muscadine vines can be found growing wild along the forest ground and among the trees. Wild muscadines have both male and female plants, so not all vines in the wild produce fruit. For every ten vines found during the fruiting season, only one or two will actually produce fruit. The newer cultivated varieties being planted at Walkers Mill were carefully selected to provide for both fresh-picking and future wine production. The owners knew that, if muscadines were already growing wild on the surrounding land, the newer developed muscadine varieties would thrive here as well.
Muscadines are Hearty
Native to the southeastern part of the United States, the muscadine grape is known to thrive in harsh environments and to do well in the heat that we have here in the South. The grapes grow in only twelve states and East Texas represents the muscadine grape’s far western natural range.
Muscadines are Healthy
For many years research results have proclaimed the benefits of red grapes and wine. Research has revealed that muscadines take these health benefits to a whole new level. Grape skin polyphenols like resveratrol, ellagic acid and quercetin are present in high concentrations in muscadines. Muscadine seeds also have high levels of the antioxidant catechin found in green tea. Recent research has revealed evidence suggesting that some chemicals found in muscadines have an effect against cancer mechanisms.
Muscadines are Delicious
Many people in the southern United States can remember tasting their first fresh muscadine. The deep grape flavor is unique with more complexity than regular table grapes. The muscadine is, in fact, a very versatile fruit which lends itself well to making fresh juice, wine, jellies and jams as well as a number of other culinary uses. With fruit available only during a brief part of the year, August and September in our region, fruiting season is a busy time here at Walkers Mill Venue.