Monday, 25 August 2014

Muscadine Wine - A Taste of the Deep South

I like to drink a cold glass of dry white wine with meals or in the garden on a hot summer day and although I am no wine expert I know the sort of grape varieties that I like.

When I got to North Carolina in June this year my sister offered me a glass of wine. She said it was ‘dry’ and that it was one of her favourites.  In actual fact it was on the sweet side for me and not at all dry by my tastes. 

I asked what the grape variety was. Muscadine! I had never heard of this grape and apparently it is not widely grown anywhere except for the southern states of America. It thrives on the rich soil and mild winters as well as the heat and humidity of the Southern states and even the North Carolina General Assembly named the Scuppernog grape (a cultivar of the original Muscadine) the official state fruit in 2001!
I contacted the Johnson County Tourism Board to see if there were any Muscadine wineries in the area that would offer a tour and tasting so I could learn more.

It was very kindly arranged for us to have a tour and tasting of Hinnant Family Winery in Johnson County. Bev had not been to this winery or sampled their wines before so it was a first for both of us.  Each producer has their own little nuances in their range.
First of all we tasted their range of wines, white, red and rose all with the distinctive taste that comes from the muscadine grape.  This is a very earthy and a bit metallic taste, very different to my ‘European’ wine tastes. The locals say it is an acquired taste.

They have a range of wines that they link to being like certain ‘Bordeaux’ or ‘Merlot’ wines and then a range of very different wines that have no ‘European’ counterpart.

Hinnant Family Winery is North Carolina's oldest and largest muscadine vineyard and a family run winery. The staff have a real passion for the vines, the processes and the finished product and love greeting the visitor with their Southern hospitality. Though a small operation it is incredibly modern and efficient,

as well as award winning.
Funny enough the wine I picked as my favourite of the range had elderflower and honey in it which I would have thought would have made it sweet but it is in fact quite dry but with a beautiful bouquet and fragrance.

There are over 100 wineries in the state of North Carolina and for a list of them and where you can get a tasting and tour check out North Carolina Wines. You can visit the North Carolina Muscadine Grape Association for more information.

Many thanks to Erin at Johnson County Tourism Board for arranging my tour and tasting of Hinnant and thanks too to the staff at Hinnant Family Winery for their hospitality and the wine they gave me to take home.  I did not receive any payment to write about this and as usual all opinions and photos are my own.








  1. Welcome to the world of NC's wonderful muscadine wines. There are MANY great muscadine wineries. You can find out about more and the special history of muscadine wine at Did you know that prior to prohibition NC was the largest wine producing state in the country and it was all due to our native Muscadines. Cheers.

  2. Deborah I visited Hinnant and also Duplin so have loads more to visit next trip to NC!

  3. What fun Heidi. If I ever am in that area I will make sure to drop in.

  4. It was really interesting and fun to learn about a grape I had never heard of before.