What's The Difference Between Muscadine And Scuppernong Grapes?

Muscadine Scuppernong For Wine MakingI was wondering what the difference was between muscadine and scuppernong grapes? I hear people talk about both as if they were the same thing. Are they? Or are they different?
Justin S.,
Hello Justin,
Both Muscadine and Scuppernong grapes are indigenous to the Southeast region of the U.S. They grow both wild and domestically in backyards and on farms from Arkansas to the Carolina’s and everywhere South of there.
Muscadine and Scuppernong are a couple of names that are sometimes used loosely to mean the same grape, but in reality, a Scuppernong is a particular variety of Muscadine. So, technically you could call any Scuppernong grape a Muscadine, but you couldn’t call any Muscadine grape a Scuppernong.
Over the decades Muscadines have been domesticated and grafted into varying sizes and color. Today, there are an endless list of Muscadine varieties. While Scuppernong is a variety of Muscadine it is not considered a hybrid or cultivar. It has been know to be in existence since at least the 1600’s and has been domesticated in its own right. This is how some of the confusion comes about.

Today in spite of the facts, most people refer to the red varieties as Muscadines and to the white varieties as Scuppernongs.

I say, regardless of what you call them, these grapes make wonderful country wines. Using Scuppernongs is even a great way to learn how to make white wines for the first time.
Buy Wine CrusherPreparing these grapes my take some effort though. Because of their incredibly thick skins, running them through a grape crusher may be necessary as opposed to simply crushing them by hand.
An alternative to getting a grape crusher would be to use a steam juicer to extract the juice. The steam juicer bursts the skins with steamed heat. The juice then falls out the colander of steamed grapes and runs out into a collector. Once cooled, the juice is ready to go straight into the fermenter.
I hope this information helps you understand a little better about the difference between Muscadines and Scuppernongs.
Happy Wine Making,
Ed Kraus
Ed Kraus is a 3rd generation home brewer/winemaker and has been an owner of E. C. Kraus since 1999. He has been helping individuals make better wine and beer for over 25 years.

41 thoughts on “What's The Difference Between Muscadine And Scuppernong Grapes?

  1. muscadines make very very very good wine,when the berry is right.the wine has a very very very nice color to it,and the smell and the taste go hand in hand.it is very very good,i have made it before,it is one of my familys wines.the muscadines have to be right just like the grapes,you use.and yes i have used the big blueblack grapes,from one of my relatives vines,they made the best wines.the grapes,were the very very good ones.the vines had been in the family before i was born.and i am 49 years old.i don’t know where they came from,i just know that they made the best wines,jams,jellys,cobbars,pies.and yes i like eating the muscadines,and eatting the dewberrys,and using them to make wine,the drewberry wine is great.happy wine making and i am always learning about wine,i think that it is great.

  2. Are the James grapes considered Muscadine grapes. They are dark in color. I was wondering if this is one of the factors used to distinquish the different grapes. Thanks

    • My Grandfather grew the James variety of grapes in his backyard in Winston-Salem N.C. for most of his life. The skins were not as thick and the juice was not as sweet as Muscadine Grapes. However they were excellent for eating. The vines he had came from my Great Grandfather’s place in Guilford N.C. that in turn came his fathers farm in Snow Camp N.C.

  3. Bill, I had to do some research on this because I am not familiar with this grape. It appears to be be grown primarily in SC. From the best of what I can gather it is a hybrid of Lambrusco and a Muscat of some variety, however I cannot verify any of this. Hope this helps you out.

  4. A red delicious is an apple and a yellow delicious is an apple. An Elberta is a peach and a Hale’s haven is a peach. A Sugargate is a muscadine and a scuppernong is a muscadine that was found growing along the Scuppernong river.

    • The sceppernong grape was discovered near the Sceppernong river off Albermarle sound in NC.
      The muscadine mother vine is found on Roanoke Island also in NC. I grew up in eastern NC & to me they each have a different distinct taste. My sceppernongs are getting ripe now.

  5. I was born and raised in Atlanta, GA and I am 44 now. Since I could remember we have always had Muscadines all over the place growing in everyone’s backyard. Still do. I currently live in the Suburbs South of Atlanta and live on a 5 acre lot and I have two large vines covering the backyard. One has what we call the Muscadine (black/purple) and on the other side of the yard, we have the other we call the Scuppernong. (White) This is how I was taught to distinguish them all my life, is that correct? Don’t know and not really troubled by it at all! We don’t make wines, we don’t make jams, nor pies, we don’t sell them like some of our neighbors, we simply eat them off the vine, and let friends, family and neighbors pick as many as they want as long as they are careful not to damage the vines. Even after people leave with bags full, their are still so many that go rotten on the vine as their are just too many of them. We are going to have to prune them back this year as they have completely taken over the peach tree and the pear tree that neither tree bared any fruit this year. Also because the lawn service guys sprayed weed killer on one end and we have to make sure it does not kill off any more than it already has. We also have Fig and Apple trees and luckily the grape vines are out of reach or I am sure they would have taken over those as well.

    I know my comment does not really answer the question, but I just thought I would share my experience with this grape.


    • I love the dark ones. The wild muscadines are much richer than the tame ones. The hulls make the most incredible cobblers! Cover with water and boil until the skin begins to pop. Let cool and squeeze the pulp from the fruit. Run the pulp through a jelly sieve and return to hulls and water. Cook till hulls are tender. Add sugar, small amount of butter and some thickening. Best cobbler filling in the world!

    • That’s how my grandparents taught me. Purple are muscadines and scuppernongs white/brown. I’m 60. I had both vines in my yard.

  6. T.C., I want to visit your backyard! It sounds so yummy and pleasant! Personally, I’m a scuppernong fan, having grown up in Florida with them in our backyard – over 8 decades ago! (you surely sound like a good neighbor!)

  7. Love these grapes. I was raised in Mississippi and had both to eat. Use to climb up a tree for the Muscatine. I love them todY. In Texas we have grapes and Muscatine vines in my back yard. Thank you for info

  8. Scuppernong is bronze/white type variety of muscadine. Muscadines are in general either bronze a.k.a. white or black a.k.a. purple. Scuppernong was THE first variety of muscadine and became so well known that lay people started using the term scuppernong to describe any bronze/white type muscadine which is innacurate. There are several varieties of both bronze, and black muscadines of which scuppernong is only one.
    Also, the terms variety and cultivar can be used interchangeably.
    Personally I like to eat them fresh right off the vine.

  9. I would like to make a 5 gal batch of sweet red muscadine wine from juice I plan on buying at a winery. I can’t find a recipe using the juice. Does anybody have a good recipe I could use?

    • I used 2 1/2 gal of juice and 12 lbs of sugar then topped off with water to the 5 gal mark. Added just regular yeast from the grocery store and nothing else . Racked it once at about a month and again a month later. I’m sure some people will bash me but it is very sweet ,strong and taste excellent

  10. I have made wine with the Bronze (white wine) muscadines and the purple. In fact I just bottled some strawberry / muscadines wine that came out great. Very unique taste, that is fantastic! As for as smashing them you can get a clean sanitized bucket and use a commercial quality smasher (got from a kitchen supply company for 7 dollars) OR you can freeze the grapes overnight in a large freezer bag getting all the air out. I double the bags cause after they thaw I use a roller pin for bread making and smash the grapes in the bag. Very easy and quick and then just dump the bags into the main fermenter and start your process.

    • You are so right Terry. I freeze all my fruit before I make wine out or it. Freezing the fruit causes it to break down faster and the wine seems to work off faster. I too, use a rolling pin to mash the fruit in the bag that I freeze it in. You can also use a full bottle of wine to crush the grapes.

  11. You can also freeze the muscadines (dark) and scupperongs (light). My way of classifying them. That will also burst the inside cells. I have been making native wines for 5 seasons and love it. The last weekend in September there is a Muscadine Festival in Kenansville NC. Most wineries that make this type of wine set up displays and you can sample their wines. There are Beach Music Bands and shap contests. A great get together.

  12. I produce about 15 gallons of Scuppernong wine a year and my customers buy all that i will sell. It is an enjoyable wine to drink, it is dry but with lots of flavor, sometimes similar to green apples. TIP; to process the grapes, i use an old sausage grinder with the internal die taken out, you want to break the skin but not crush the seeds

    • Gordon, we recommend using Vaseline to lubricate the screws of your wine press.

  13. I love scuppernong jelly. My college roommate grows them in Alabama. But will they grow in Virginia? I would love to make my own jelly with them.

    • David, I am sorry, we do not have any information as to how well Scuppernong Grapes will grow in your area. We would recommend contacting a local nursery or the agricultural department of your State College for more information.

    • Depends on where you live in VA and how the land is.
      Two years ago we made both Muscadine and Suppernong jelly. I’ve never made wine, but I’ve had some.

    • Carlos and Magnolia scuppernongs are rated for agricultural zone 6. I live outside Lynchburg and have about 80 vines that are 6 years old. They do fine. Most of the fruit matures late September and early October. However, since they don’t all mature at the same time you will loose 5-10% late in the fall to frost.
      If you are planting them space 16 feet apart on top wire cordon system. It will take a few years to fill the wire but you will be glad you used 16 feet spacing once they mature.

  14. Both types of grapes were purchased in Virginia up near DC, so yes, they do well in Virginia.

  15. @David – I grew up north of Atlanta, but now I live near Charlottesville, VA, and have a couple of vines I got from Ison’s. My first vines got killed by a late frost, so I replaced them with 2-year+ vines, and they have been doing well for the last few years. I am starting to get pretty good yields.
    The only problem I have is some critter likes to pull the green fruit off and just drop it on the ground. After I start getting ripe fruit, I can pick and eat it for awhile, but then something comes and just takes it all – overnight. I can go out on a Tuesday in early October and see lots of fruit almost ready to pick. When I go out on Wednesday, it will all be gone. Not sure what is doing it, but whatever it is, it must not be familiar with Muscadines, because it generally just destroys the fruit, but does not eat it.

    • I can tell you they are opossums – they will sit there all night eating your grapes like they eat our persimmons.

  16. I am gaining experience with wild scuppernong grapes the past two years. I will tell you this: the reason that I like them is that, if you’re making jelly w/them, it takes 1/3 less sugar to get the same sweetness. I think that is an important fact in this day and age. Happy Wild Grape Picking!

  17. I own a winery in SC and would like to clarify some information about the Muscadine.
    There are currently over 400 varieties which only grow in the Southern US from FL to DE to East TX.
    NC is considered The Muscadine State and is home to the “Mother Vine” which is more specifically the Scuppernong variety of Muscadine.
    There is a lot of data regarding Muscadine (Vitis Rotundafolia) available online.
    We grow over 50 varieties of Muscadine across 5 vineyards. This style of vineyard management is known as “Field Blending” and yields significantly different flavor profiles with each vintage (harvest). With early, mid and late season varieties, our harvest can last 14 weeks; late July to early November.
    Muscadine are commonly referred to as “Bullace” or Southern Fox. The word Bullace was introduced with the first discovery of NC coast in the 16th century. The settlers mis-identified the Scuppernong as a European wild plum or Bullace.
    Some Muscadines hold the record as the worlds largest grape which is the size of a golf ball. Muscadine also contain 40X more antioxidant, Resveratrol and are the only grape with an Ellagic Acid. Muscadines are further unique from ALL other grapes with 40 pairs of chromosomes, vs 38 pairs from ALL others! Two major Universities were recently granted 20 million dollars to study the health benefits of Muscadines. There are less than 2500 cultivated acres of Muscadines planted worldwide with the majority dedicated for fresh markets. If there were enough Muscadines grown to supply the nation coast to coast, medical doctors would be more specific and recommend one glass of red Muscadine wine per day~
    Like many foods/drinks of the south, the typical southern winery produces very sweet wines from Muscadine, to the point both words are synonymous. In actuality, the Muscadine has an average of only 15° Brix vs an average 22° Brix for most Vitis Vinifera. Basically, everything in the south is made sweet. In contrast, we produce many dry muscadine wines annually.
    With a recent archaeological discovery in SC near the Savannah River, pre-Clovis human artifacts were dated back 40,000 – 70,000 years! As Muscadines are the original grapes of North America and humans around the world were known to produce fermented alcohols, this would make Muscadine the first and original wines of the continent!
    I hope this information is found useful and encourage everyone to experience the unique qualities of our beloved Muscadine grapes~ “Bless your sweet little hearts”

    • Whats the best way to find out what variety of grape you have. My mother vine is about 4 inches thick. Was here way before I bought this house but I have since contained the vine growing up to a runner. Have also made 3 additional runners with 2 vines in each. I have scuppernog and muscadine. I’ve enjoyed all the post. Since I’ve made so many preserves I’ve started to make wine. Who has a great old time recipe to share? Thanks everyone

  18. Dear Kraus:
    I know you are trying to sell steam juicers however while good for making jelly it is a decided mistake to use a steam juicer in winemaking. Never, I repeat never heat the grapes or must. This will in most cases cause a heavy pectin haze which you won’t be able to get rid of. No one likes or can be proud of a cloudy wine! I rarely comment on opinions of others but this is too important for serious winemakers and I don’t want people to ruin a batch of wine.
    With respect,
    Logan Wilson

    • Logan, thank you for your insight and information. I will pass this information along.

  19. The difference between a muscadine and scuppernog grape is like asking what is the difference between a winesap apple and a red delicious apple ……..they are the same just a different variety….in fact all the varieties of these southeastern grapes are ALL muscadines and are unique from all other grapes…The oldest grape vine in North America Is a Muscadine, and is called the Mother vine…It is over 400 years old, and resides on Ocracoke island on the North Carolina coast. The indians were tending it when the European settlers came over. Varieties are called cultivars and Ison’s Nursery in Georgia has more patented cultivars than any one, look them up and order from them(avoid hardware chains)

    • This is what I have always heard them called it since I came to SC. Scuphidimes. It is possible people are just pronouncing it incorrectly because they have never seen it spelled before.
      I haven’t in 46 years of living!

  20. I have been making wine from both the white and purple/black wild muscadine and scuppernong for about 65 years. They grow wild in north Georgia and always make an excellent wine whether semi-sweet or dry. I have a special 4×4 that I have had for as long as I can remember to use to crush the grapes. I always sanitize it and put it back with my equipment for safe keeping.
    I find that using fruits and berries from the wild makes some of the best country wines you can make. The best I ever made was from the small hard green wild crabapples. I only mane a three gallon batch , I wish I had made a thirty gallon batch. I now don’t have access to the crabapples.

  21. Hi… I just planted some Muscadine Black Grapes and the have germinated… I did so out of curiosity..
    There are six seedlings in all.. My question is the following.. 4 seedlings have dark black skins.. and 2 have green skins.. Why the difference in color….wish I could post a pic…

    • Julio, Unfortunately, we do not have an answer for you. We do not have experience in actually growing the grapes. We would recommend contacting a nursery or that agriculture department of your State college for more information.

  22. I planted 6 seeds from some scuppernong grapes my cousin brought me from SC three years ago. only one germinated and I have feverishly protected it. It is now ten feet long with side shoots as I have never pruned it. For the first pruning, do I dare do a radical cut/cuts or be very conservative? It is sharing a trellis with a 100 year old sweet grape, which I can’t remember the name of right now. I live in southern NJ.

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