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Have you had a Rotundifolia Lately?

January 27, 2009
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Florida has a large market for grape products. We continue to be either second or third in wine consumption from year to year and the list of value-added products, from grapes and grape products keeps growing. Not just oils, jams and vinegar, think health products and anti-aging applications due to the chemical resveratrol. More on resveratrol later.

The species of grapes used to produce “traditional” table wines, Vitis vinifera and its hybrids, are not adapted to Florida’s semitropical climate. Traditional varietals like cabs, zins and chardonays do not likewineries-031 the humidity. Here we grow the Vitis rotundifolia or muscadine and bunch grapes (American Cultivars) which were derived from the Vitis lambrusca. Several species of bunch and muscadine grapes are native to Florida and in the hands of skilled winemakers produce some very interesting wines. The muscadine has a reputation for strong grape aromas. This aroma is sometimes called “musky” or “foxy” and is considered by some to be a flaw, but I find it to be pleasing and another dimension of the variety.

Florida wineries have really come up to speed with professional and experienced winemakers and refuse to be relegated to a lower status because of the grape species. At the 2008 International Wine and Grape Juice Competition at Florida’s State Fair 13 Florida Wineries won 64 medals. With 27 judges scoring the wines it would seem that somebody likes the musky fox. Some Florida wines are super stars in their fashion and are at last gaining respect from consumers bold enough to expand their wine education.

The 2009 International Wine and Grape Juice Competition will be February 5, 6, and 7 at this year’s Florida State Fair in Tampa, Florida. Look for the results to appear on the Florida Grape Growers Association’s web site.

Look for one of Florida’s newest Certified Farm Wineries, Log Cabin Winery in Satsuma, Florida, to medal in their first appearance in the competition
Visit Florida Wineries on line here:

Florida State Fair Schedule:

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