North Carolina Grape Varieties

Today, bunch grapes, including V. vinifera, French-American hybrids and Labrusca-type grapes, are grown throughout the Piedmont and mountain regions of North Carolina. Muscadines are grown in the coastal plain where moderate winter temperatures prevail. Be sure to see the Crop Profile for Grapes in North Carolina.

Wines may be made from 100% or predominantly one variety of grape, or wines may be made from a blend of several grape varieties. Becoming familiar with grape varieties is a vital step in knowing your wines. Many wines, especially in the United States, have the name of the producer (the winery) on the bottle, and the wine is named by the grape variety used. 

Below is a summary of the types of wine made from these different grapes: 

Vitis vinifera
Wines produced from grapes of this traditional European species are reminiscent of those harvested in Europe and California. New agricultural developments have enabled viticulturalists to successfully cultivate these grapes in North Carolina. Cultivars include Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Viognier and Cabernet Franc.

French-American hybrids
These are crosses between various Vitis vinifera and native American species. Developed in France in the late 1800s, these grapes combine the disease resistance and winter hardiness of American species with the classic flavors of the Vinifera, or European, species. Cultivars include, Chambourcin, Seyval Blanc, Vidal Blanc, and Villard Noir.

Vitis rotundifolia
Muscadines, known locally as scuppernongs, are the native grapes of North Carolina. Muscadines are commonly consumed fresh or made into wines and jellies. Wines of this grape are rich, full-flavored, and very fruity. Popular cultivars include Carlos, Magnolia, Sterling, Nesbitt and Noble. For information on home grape growing, visit Muscadine Grapes in the Home Garden.

Labrusca-type
Wines produced from grapes of this species, considered the American "bunch" grapes, offer intense, fruity flavors which display the true taste of their labrusca heritage. Cultivars include Catawba, Concord, Delaware, and Niagara. For information on home grape growing, visit Bunch Grapes in the Home Garden.

Fruit varieties
Wines vinted from fruits other than grapes are opening new opportunities through the efforts of North Carolina vintners. These exciting new wines are pleasing to the palate and delectably enchanting. Fruit varieties include apple, blueberry, blackberry, peach, plum, strawberry and cherry.


This is a conservative list of grape varieties that are grown or might be considered for growing in North Carolina.
For information on variety and site compatibility, please visit Site Suitability in this section. To see more about grape varieties, go to: 

 

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