Muscadine grapes are native to North Carolina, first discovered by European explorers to the region, they were first cultivated for commercial use after the prohibition. Here is a great article from Southern Living on the history of muscadine grapes and how to best to grow these funky fruits.
Our first sips of muscadine wine was at Benjamin Vineyard and Winery in Saxapahaw, NC. This small vineyard offers pick-your-own grapes in harvest season, as well as wine tastings and special events.
Our first wander was through the vineyards to see the fruit on the vine. The bunches of grapes are small, less than a dozen fruits per bunch. They grow just like any other grape on lush vines that reach out for a stronghold.
Muscadines are interesting to eat. Their eatable hulls are tough to the tooth, but palatable. The fruit inside is juicy and pulpy with large seeds. It is an acquired taste for sure. It’s very similar to muscat grapes, if that helps at all.
After family photos and lots of wandering around the vineyard, we settled up for some wine tasting. It’s only $3 a person to try as many wines as you want and for $5 you can keep the souvenir glass and taste to your heart’s content.
We tried a nice flight of wines including:
- ’08 Chambourcin – fruity, red very drinkable
- Carlos – very drinkable, has the distinct muscadine taste with a clean finish
- Hunt – sweet, a little over powering finish
- Blackberry Bramble – very sweet, would be great to reduce for a dessert syrup
We went home with a bottle of Carlos and the Cabernet Sauvignon, which were both wonderfully affordable and delish! You can order all their wines online to get a little bit of the south delivered to your doorstep.
Picturesque, affordable and fun, Benjamin Vineyard and Winery is a delightful wander.
Distance from Raleigh – 52 miles or about a hour – Get the Route
Wander Well Tips:
- Swing by in the harvest season, September through mid-October, and pick-your-own grapes for $1.25 a pound
- Bring a designated driver and sip wine for just $3 a person
- Bring your camera, vineyards offer beautiful backdrops for the beautiful people in your life