What are Muscadines?
A staple crop of the South, muscadines can be used for a variety of ways such as fresh off the vine or used in the kitchen to make jelly, cobblers, and wine. The muscadines do best in warmer climates where temperatures don’t get below 10 degrees. Therefore they do best in the south and not as good in the northern climates. There are several different muscadine varieties, but Travis is not sure which varieties he currently has growing on his vines. However, the four different types are a larger purple muscadine, smaller purple muscadine, smaller bronze muscadine, and a larger bronze muscadine. Another benefit of growing muscadines is they are rich in antioxidants making them a very healthy crop from the vegetable garden. However, when eating muscadines fresh off the vine you should definitely avoid eating the seeds inside the muscadine.
Making Muscadine Wine
On this week’s episode, Travis is making muscadine wine straight from the vine. As far as taking care of muscadines they are pretty much maintenance-free once they are established on the homestead. The only maintenance we recommend is during the wintertime the need to be pruned back. Usually, around January, Travis will take his pruning shears to prune back the vines real close so they can grow back out and produce more muscadines. Also, he does not add irrigation or fertilizer to the plants just prunes them back for maintenance. On Travis’s particular vine it is around a 100 foot long and the purple muscadine type produces the quickest over the bronze muscadines every year. After harvesting, he received around 12 to 15 gallons of the purple muscadines and normally the same amount for the bronze when they finish maturing. To make muscadine wine he starts by placing them in a grape crusher to crush them all down. Then, once they are crushed we can place them in a juicer that has a bladder in the middle that fills up with water and squeezes them against the sides to release all the juices out. By releasing all the juice in the juicer we are able to extract all the juice for the muscadine wine making process.