Muscadine Grape Growing
Muscadine grapes are native to North Carolina and the southeastern United States. These large, thick-skinned and seeded grapes grow in small, loose clusters and are often harvested as individual berries. They can be bronze or black in color. The most well known bronze variety, Scuppernong, was named the official state fruit in 2001.
Muscadine grape growing continues to increase in North Carolina. In 2001, there were 275 acres of bronze muscadines and 71 acres of black muscadines. Just five years later in 2006, the total muscadine acreage has grown to 610 acres, with 495 acres of bronze and 115 acres of black muscadines.
Muscadine grape harvest in North Carolina occurs in late August through early October. The grapes are generally packed in clamshells or sold in bulk boxes for custom packing. The Produce Electronic Identification Board has recently created six Universal Product Codes (UPC) for bronze and black muscadines in pint, quart and pound packages.
Muscadine bloom occurs in mid-May. Warm and dry conditions lead to a good fruit set. Late summer hurricanes can sometimes threaten the muscadine harvest. While rain is necessary for young grapevines to become established, hot and dry conditions maximize sugars and flavors in the grapes.
Additional resources on growing this popular variety: