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 (Credit: Sera_Leaving)

Scuppernong, originally known as the Big White Grape, is a variety of the Muscadine grape native to the southeastern United States. The name translated is, the place where magnolias grow in the Algonquin language, but this name actually comes from an early 18th-century agricultural journal.

Scuppernong and the other Muscadine varieties that proliferated all along what is now the United States and Canadian coastline are likely the reason for the Viking descriptor as Vinland. Among the grape’s most famous proponents, Thomas Jefferson declared that Scuppernong wines would be “…distinguished on the best tables of Europe, for its fine aroma and crystalline transparence.”

Legend has it that the first-known cultivation and production of wine in the New World is from the Scuppernong variety of Muscadine grape in the 1560’s by French Huguenots in what is now Florida. In addition, what is considered the oldest-known cultivated grape vine in the world is the “Mother Vine” on Roanoke Island, North Carolina; it is 400 years old and covers a half acre. Scuppernong became the state fruit of North Carolina in 2001.

(Credit: Southern Foodways Alliance)

Scuppernong berries are larger and thicker-skinned than typical grapes—almost olive-sized, with a bronze tinge. The skins are thick and spicy, like a plum, and the flesh is much heavier and sweeter than a typical red wine grape. The grapes are low in sugar and high in acid, often requiring sugar to be added to achieve a balanced flavor in the wine.

Recent studies show that Scuppernong and other Muscadine grapes are one of nature’s richest sources of polyphenolic antioxidants, and are thought to be effective in improving the odds against a variety of cancers and other degenerative diseases. 

Probably a wine drunk mostly for its history or reputed health benefits, typical Scuppernong or Muscadine wines range from dry to sweet, with a preponderance of the latter. They show a beautiful dark gold to bronze coloration and are known for an aromatic perfume and spiciness. The sweeter wines are often attributed a taste like candy with a slight alcohol or solvent aftertaste and are best drunk alone or with a slightly less sweet dessert. A good comparison would be a slightly wilder version of the Muscat grape. 

 

Name: Scuppernong

Species: vitis rotundifolia

Origin: United States

Color:  Red wine (bronze grape)

Other names: American Muscadine, Big White Grape, Bull, Bullace, Bullet, Fox grape of the South, Green Muscadine, Green Scuppernong, Hickman, Hickman's Grape, Muscadine, Roanoke, White Muscadine, White Scuppernong, Wild Green Muscadine, Yellow Muscadine

Notable Regions: United States

Tags: Scuppernong

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