Making Mississippi Wine

Dr. Wayne Adams, a small scale grape grower near Richton, has several different interspecific hybrid wine grape varieties (as well as muscadines).  Each year he harvests some fruit to make a little wine.  It can be taxing and backbreaking work without the latest equipment.  He prefers the variety Conquistador that was released from the University of Florida in 1983 (http://mrec.ifas.ufl.edu/grapes/CultivarBulletins/Conquistador%20circularS-300%201983.pdf).  One issue Dr. Adams has noticed with Conquistador in 2012 is uneven ripening of the clusters.  Since Conquistador has Concord in its parentage this is not a big surprise.  Concord is notorious for uneven ripening in hot temperature conditions.  Conquistador also has a good dose of Vitis aestivalis in it, a southern-adapted species that spawned the famous ‘Norton’ (aka ‘Cynthiana’).  Dr. Adams likes how the vine grows and the wine it produces.  He plans to add more vines in the future.   In my opinion we need to do more work on it and see.  I think it is good for a small-scale homeowner/hobbyist vineyard, but for commercial production there needs to be more testing to see how viable it is on a larger scale.  Currently we are looking at some varieties on a very small scale to see which ones to ramp up on a larger scale.  Cynthiana/Norton and Blanc du Bois are two of those.  Herbemont is another that looks promising.  In the coming year we will bring in some outside varieties that have never been tested here (at least to my knowledge) so that we can take a look-see.

Below are a couple of photos from Dr. Adams vineyard operation.  The first is an example of uneven ripening in Conquistador.  The second is pressing of fruit to obtain the juice.

Uneven ripening in Conquistador, photo by Dr. Wayne Adams

Uneven ripening in Conquistador, photo by Dr. Wayne Adams

Pressing grapes for wine, photo by Dr. Wayne Adams

Pressing grapes for wine, photo by Dr. Wayne Adams

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