01 February 2017

#Muscadine & #Scuppernong the Local #Grapes: #Viticulture & #Oenology #FruitoftheVine

Yesterday, not long after I'd finished browsing the latest issue of Wine Spectator magazine, I was checking messages online when --- my mind still apparently focused on wine --- I noticed a post on a Facebook group about an upcoming annual fruit tree sale at a local non-profit. The event ad listed apple, pear, and pawpaw among the kinds of trees that will be available to purchase and also noted there would be fruit bearing vines like muscadine for sale. My heart must have skipped a beat. KERTHUNK.

There are a few things which will always instantly recall to me the idylls of my childhood in rural Georgia and tart dark purple muscadine grapes, Vitis rotundifolia, and their sweeter "cousins," bulbous green scuppernong grapes (actually a large variety of muscadine) are one of them. My maternal grandmother had plentiful muscadine vines at her house, which were laced over and around a rough-hewn trellis approximately four feet tall, creating a dome that hid a secret "cavern" underneath. As barefoot children, we would crawl through the vines and pry an opening, then sit in the little cave while we ate our fill. The sun would dapple the leaves, casting odd shadows and warming the earth beneath us, as grape juice stained our tongues and T-shirts. Such good memories!

Therefore, I would love to cultivate my own little vineyard featuring our local grape for both food and wine. (Creating a small private vineyard is actually on my "To Do" list for my homestead once developed. Part of my desire to "live off of the land" as well as an indulgence of my interest in viticulture and oenology.) I'm so very tempted to attend this fruit tree and vine sale, but would no doubt come away with far too many things that I fear would go to waste, because I have not yet reached a point where I can accommodate a burgeoning orchard or vineyard. (I hope) by next year's sale, however, it's a date!

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