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Muscadine vs Muscato

I find it interesting to read answers to wine questions. Local Wine Events sends out a newsletter that not only lists wine events in your region, but also has answers to questions. In today’s newsletter there was a question titled “Muscadine vs Muscato.” The writer wanted to know if the health benefits reported by literature for the muscadine grapes apply to Muscato grapes. The question was answered by an expert who totally avoided the question and lost the opportunity to educate. The expert’s answer praised the questioner’s desire to look at the research. That response was certainly very appropriate but where is the teaching?

The Italian Muscato grapes belong to the species Vitis vinifera. Also known as Muscat, these grapes are grown all around the world. Muscadine grapes are predominately grown in the south eastern region of the United States. They are a different species of grapes known as Vitis rotundifolia. The Muscadine grape family has many cultivars including Black Beauty, Carlos, Fry, Magnolia, Scuppernong and hundreds of others. There is a fair amount of medical research on the health benefits of Muscadine grapes. Check out the article by the United States Department of Agriculture. Some of the universities in North Carolina have done research about the health benefits of Muscadine grapes.

In short, Muscadine and Muscato are completely different types of grape species. There is literature that points to the health benefits of the Muscadine grapes. What about wine? While in a North Carolina winery it was mentioned that Muscadine wine has ten times the resveratrol than that found in red wine made with Vitis vinifera grapes such as Cabernet Sauvignon. When I mentioned this to a friend the response was, “I’d rather have ten glasses of Cabernet Sauvignon.”


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