What is the difference between a muscadine and scuppernong?

Answered by James Porterfield

As a sommelier and brewer, I have had the pleasure of working with a wide variety of grapes, including Muscadine and Scuppernong. These names are often used interchangeably, but there is actually a distinction between the two. To put it simply, all Scuppernongs are Muscadines, but not all Muscadines are Scuppernongs.

Muscadine is a general term used to refer to a group of grape varieties that are native to the southeastern United States. These grapes have a thick skin and are known for their unique flavor profile, which can range from sweet to tart. Muscadines come in different colors such as bronze, black, and purple, and they are typically larger than traditional European grapes.

On the other hand, Scuppernong is a specific variety of Muscadine grape. It is actually the oldest cultivated variety in the United States and has a rich history in the South. Scuppernongs are typically bronze or green in color and have a sweet, musky flavor. They are often used for making , , or even jelly.

So, to clarify, if you were to come across a grape labeled as a Scuppernong, you could also call it a Muscadine because it belongs to that broader category. However, if you have a grape labeled as a Muscadine, you cannot automatically call it a Scuppernong as it may be a different variety within the Muscadine family.

In terms of taste, Muscadines and Scuppernongs share many similarities. They both have a unique sweetness and a distinct musky flavor that sets them apart from other grape varieties. However, individual preferences can vary, and some people may find one variety more enjoyable than the other.

Personally, I have had the pleasure of tasting both Muscadines and Scuppernongs in various forms. I have enjoyed Muscadine wines that have a robust flavor and a touch of sweetness. I have also savored Scuppernong jelly, which had a delightful, musky taste that paired wonderfully with toast and cheese.

To summarize, Muscadine and Scuppernong are related but distinct grape varieties. While all Scuppernongs are Muscadines, not all Muscadines can be referred to as Scuppernongs. They both offer a unique flavor experience that is worth exploring, whether in the form of wine, juice, or other culinary delights.