In 1524 Giovanni de Verazano, a French Explorer, recorded the first sighting of grapes in the Cape Fear River Valley.
In 1584 Sir Walter Raleighs' explorers discovered the mother vine on Roanoke Island.
Around the 17th century, a bronze Muscadine became popular called the "Scuppernong." The name originated from the Algonquin Indian name "Ascopa" meaning Sweetbay tree.
In 1811 The Star Newspaper printed the first written record of grapes referred to as "Scuppernong".
In 1840, the federal census declared North Carolina the chief wine- producing state of the Union.
A Castle Hayne Vineyard Company existed in the 1870's. Far surpassing all rival winemakers in the vicinity was the family of Sol Bear. By 1902, the Bear employed six commercial travelers and had agents in New York. A featured product was the "Bell of Carolina," which resembled a mild port. In addition, blackberries and Muscadines provided the ingredients for several their wines. A new winery built in 1902 at Front and Marsteller Streets in Wilmington, capable of turning out 200,000 gallons a year. The Bears' plant was one of the largest consumers of Muscadines in the nation, and its demands, fortified by those of Paul Garrett and others by 1906 practically exhausted the available supply of Muscadines
At the turn of the century, 25 wineries operated in North Carolina, making it one of the most productive wine states in the U.S. The industry closed with the onset of Prohibition in 1920.
North Carolina's mother vine, a 400 year old Scuppernong vine measuring half an acre at one time, is a legacy of Sir Walter Raleigh's Colony on Roanoke Island. Colonists first discovered the vine in the 16th century and introduced it elsewhere, making it our nation's first cultivated grape.
Muscadine grapes, (vitis rotundifolia), often called Scuppernongs or Muscadines, are native to Eastern North Carolina. There are approximately 20 varieties grown in North Carolina.
Bunch grapes, (vitis vinifera) grow in clusters in Western North Carolina. These include european varieties like Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon.
There is now a worldwide research concensus that moderate wine consumption is associated with a reduced risk for coronary heart disease. Numerous studies have concluded that Resveratrol, found highly concentrated in Muscadine grape, provides wine's protective benefits to the circulatory system.
Perhaps Plato was right when he called wine a gift from the Gods. A simple beverage, a marvelous many ways!