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Suggesting a muscadine variety

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a4wanman

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Background: I used to have 2 muscadine vines: 1 Cowart and 1 Tara - mainly for eating and did make some jelly. Vines got out of hand due to a lack of knowledge and care so I pulled them up.

Last year I started over. I expanded and setup a trellis system for 6 vines: 3 rows with 2 vines. I picked up and planted 5 vines from Ison's - one each of: Big Red (red), Ison(black), Supreme(black), Darlene(bronze), and Late Fry(bronze). I'll be in Atlanta in the spring, so I'll make a detour and could swing by Ison's to pick one up to fill in the empty spot. I'm having trouble deciding on which variety to get.

Finally, the questions: Any suggestion for the last vine? What qualities make a good wine? Is it really just a matter of one's taste? Y'all that make muscadine wine mix the fruit/juice or use just one type? I've read that Carlos is the standard for wine wine and Noble for red wine. I'm tempted to try to make some wine in a year or two when the vines get into full production. I'm not a big wine drinker, but did enjoy some muscadine wine I sampled in Tennessee.
 

robert81650

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rdStick with the Ison variety for wine making. Big Red and Supreme are not good wine making varieties but are good for eating. Late Frye is also not a good choice for wine.
 

garymc

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I've had a Big Red vine for 5 years and it hasn't born a grape yet. Your Big Red, Darlene, and Supreme are all females requiring a pollinator. I have about a dozen varieties and the Ison has proven to be a good variety for me. I also have some Darlenes, and a Supreme. The Darlenes are great for fresh eating and huge. But sometimes I don't get a big crop on them. The Supremes have also not produced as well as I had hoped. My Ison vines have always had big crops, taste good, make good wine, and the Ison people claim that it makes an excellent pollinator. In addition to having good taste and an edible skin, a good quality for a muscadine is a high percentage of dry stem scars. When you pick the grapes if the skin tears and starts weeping juice, its shelf life is shot. I would suggest you consider a second Ison.
 

a4wanman

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Thanks for the info. Initially when I stopped at Ison's I asked someone there for recommendations for mainly fresh eating and jelly. I didn't mention wine making. I was thinking if I had some extra fruit I may give it a try making small batches. I'm trying to follow Ison's suggestions on fertilization and spraying to help make the vines more productive.

Garymc,
I see you grow Tara. Have you made wine with just Tara? The jelly I made with Tara 2 years ago was really good - had a little tartness compared to the Cowart jelly. Would Sweet Jenny make a decent wine? Also, do you mix the different varieties for a blend or do you use just one variety for the wine?

What makes some muscadines good for wine but not others - sugar content, holds color? Seems taste would be up to the individual.

I was almost leaning toward a bronze variety since the Ison is purple. I've seen some muscadine wines at Walmart from Duplin. I guess I should try their Scuppernong and some of their "reds" to see where my taste may be since I don't know what I really want.

Thanks again for the suggestions and information for a not-quite-yet a novice. Hoping to get at least a handful of muscadines next growing season (2nd year in the ground).
 
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garymc

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With regard to only using one variety for wine, no, I don't have enough Tara vines to make wine with just that variety. But most of my other bronze vines are Triumph, and that is a parent of Tara. In fact, I can't distinguish a difference in the two. I eat or give away the few Darlenes i have. If i do have any Darlenes left, they go into the wine. Likewise, i throw all of my purple varieties not used in jelly or juice into the wine.
 
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