So I was at Myrtle Beach recently, and went to the Duplin Winery to look around and do a wine tasting. It’s cheap and fun and lets you kill an hour, and you get a wine glass to take home.
Our wine tasting host, Dave, told us some great stories between wine glasses, and kept us entertained. One of the funniest went something like this:
They entered a bottle of their wine in a competition in Calfornia. It was some fancy-pants highfalutin competition featuring wines from all over the world. Some of the traditional european vintners were a little peeved that they were even there. The muscadine, after all, is sort of the mutt in the wine world. A little known grape from the southeastern united states, mostly ignored by wine makers, it’s not something that usually stands against fancy european and even californian grapes.
But here they were, beating out other wines, winning the best in their category, and coming out near the top in the entire competition. So finally one of the judges is talking to Dave and says something to the affect of “well, I’m really surprised, we never expected this from a small company that’s been around for a few years”. He was a bit taken aback by the fact that a wine made from this “trash grape” had made it so far and done so well. He asked how much the wine sold for.
Dave tells the man, “Oh about seven”. The judge smiles and says, “Oh really? Well I don’t feel so bad now. Seven you say? Well that’s more like it. I would expect a wine that sells for Seven hundred dollars a bottle to place so high in this competition”. Dave, more than a bit shocked, tells the guy, “No, not seven hundred. Seven. Seven DOLLARS a bottle.”
Since they offended so many wine makers, the competition now has what is known unofficially as “the Duplin rule”. No wines sold for less than $50 a bottle are even allowed to enter the competition. While I don’t think my wines would ever be as good as even the duplin wine, I’ve had fun learning about and growing my grapes. This year they are doing better than they have in a LONG time, and I have a huge crop so far. My older vines need a bit of tweaking along the middle, but on the ends they are heavy with grapes which more closely resemble european or table grapes. Muscadines often have little branches of two or three berries, but these are whole handfuls.
I’m looking forward to at least making them into jellies, if nothing else.