Humble muscadine shines in 2022 Arkansas Quality Wine competition
The thick-skinned muscadines are beloved in the South but haven’t quite gained the same status as Vitis vinifera grapes when it comes to winemaking. However, they earned the full respect of judges in this year’s AQW competition.
June 30, 2022
By Mary Hightower
U of A System Division of Agriculture
- 30 wines entered in 2022 competition
- Competition part of larger program to improve Arkansas wines
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FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — The humble muscadine propelled three wines into the “best of” categories in the second annual Arkansas Quality Wine competition.
Also known as a possum grape, or fox grape, the thick-skinned fruits are beloved in the South but haven’t quite gained the same status as Vitis vinifera grapes when it comes to winemaking.
However, they earned the full respect of judges in this year’s AQW competition.
“A few of the memorable wines included winners in the muscadine category as well as the dry to semi-sweet whites,” said Michael Cook, viticulture program specialist for Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service. “These wines were perfectly balanced, clean, fresh, and full of personality.”
Cook was one of three judges for this year’s competition.
“The sparkling muscadines also held a special place in my heart and I have come to realize that after just two years of judging, Arkansas absolutely excels in this category,” he said.
The three in the “best of” category were two from Post Winery — Red Muscadine and Blue Parachute — and Rusty Tractor’s 2020 Muscadine.
The wines in the competition were scored on a variation of the 20-point system created by the University of California at Davis. Wines earning 17-20 points earned gold medals, 15-16 points earned a silver medal, and 13-14 points earned a bronze medal.
The “Best of” winners
- Best of Show — Rusty Tractor Vineyards, 2020 Chambourcin
- Best White Wine — Rusty Tractor Vineyards, 2019 Valvin Muscat
- Best Red Wine — Post Winery, Red Muscadine
- Best Red Wine: Best of Arkansas — Sassafras Springs Vineyard, 2020 Syrah
- Best Rosé/Blush — Rusty Tractor Vineyards, 2020 Muscadine
- Best Sparkling — Post Winery, “Spumante” Symphony
- Best Specialty — Post Winery, “Blue Parachute” Carlos
- Best Dessert/fortified wine — Keel’s Creek Winery, 2021 “Ozark Truck”
Double gold medal winners. To earn a double gold, a wine must earn a gold medal vote from every judge.
- Post Winery, “Blue Parachute” Carlos
- Post Winery, 2020 Ives Noir
- Post Winery, Red Muscadine
- Post Winery, Pink Muscadine
- Post Winery, “Spumante” Symphony
- Rusty Tractor Vineyards, 2020 Muscadine
- Rusty Tractor Vineyards, 2019 Valvin Muscat
- Sassafras Springs Vineyard, 2020 Syrah
Single gold medal winners
- Keel’s Creek Winery, 2021 Vignoles
- Keel’s Creek Winery, 2021 “Ozark Truck” Dessert Wine
- Post Winery, Niagara
- Post Winery, Pink Muscadine
- Rusty Tractor Vineyards, 2020 Chambourcin
- Sassafras Springs Vineyard, 2020 “Blend 5” Red Blend
Silver medal winners
- Keel’s Creek Winery, 2021 “Muscat” Valvin Muscat
- Post Winery, Prophecy
- Post Winery, White Muscadine
- Post Winery, “Red Table Wine” Concord
- Post Winery, Moscato
- Rusty Tractor Vineyards, 2019 Vignoles
Bronze medal winners
- Keel’s Creek Winery, 2021 “Sweet Spring” Chambourcin
- Post Winery, 2020 Chambourcin
- Post Winery, 2019 “Reserve X” Cabernet Sauvignon
- Rusty Tractor Vineyards, 2020 Cynthiana
- Rusty Tractor Vineyards, 2020 “Muscoles” Red Blend
- Rusty Tractor Vineyards, 2020 Traminette
Learn more about the Arkansas Quality Wine program or visit the Arkansas Association of Grape Growers.
To learn more about Division of Agriculture research, visit the Arkansas Agricultural Experiment Station website: https://aaes.uark.edu. Follow on Twitter at @ArkAgResearch. To learn more about the Division of Agriculture, visit https://uada.edu/. Follow us on Twitter at @AgInArk. To learn about extension programs in Arkansas, contact your local Cooperative Extension Service agent or visit www.uaex.uada.edu.
About the Division of Agriculture
The University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture’s mission is to strengthen agriculture, communities, and families by connecting trusted research to the adoption of best practices. Through the Agricultural Experiment Station and the Cooperative Extension Service, the Division of Agriculture conducts research and extension work within the nation’s historic land grant education system.
The Division of Agriculture is one of 20 entities within the University of Arkansas System. It has offices in all 75 counties in Arkansas and faculty on five system campuses.
The University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture offers all its Extension and Research programs to all eligible persons without regard to race, color, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, national origin, religion, age, disability, marital or veteran status, genetic information, or any other legally protected status, and is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity Employer.
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Media contact: Mary Hightower