The Vineyards... not just for the looks.
Looking forward to next year’s harvest....
While this year’s harvest is now over, read on to get ready for next year’s harvest. To learn more about how to pick a muscadine grape or to make jelly click on the following helpful links:
Did you know the Vineyards are actually community vineyards and community members can share in the harvest? Our vineyards span both sides of Cleo Chapman Highway and are draped in Muscadine vines. NPR once called Muscadines the "Best Grape You've Never Tasted".
Muscadines are native to North America, according to Patrick Conner, a professor in the horticulture department at the University of Georgia, home of the oldest muscadine breeding program in the U.S. You can find them all around the Southeast region of America, as far north as Kentucky and as far west as East Texas.
"They are native to our region and with all the humidity and the heat down here, I think the tough skin protects them from a lot of the fungal diseases," Conner says. Because they are easy to grow here, our grounds committee does not need to use any pesticides on our vines.
Our grapes are typically ready for harvest in late August. Unlike bunch grapes, which ripen and are harvested in clusters, muscadine grapes ripen individually over a several-week period in late summer. When muscadines are ripe, they remove effortlessly from the vine. They have to be harvested by hand so as not to bruise the fruit. Known for their thick skins and seeds, that doesn't deter several of our residents from harvesting and canning the muscadines for jelly. Watch the Grapevine News for the harvest announcement and then pick a few and try them!