DUPLIN COUNTY -- With the fall season comes harvest time for the North Carolina muscadine grape.
The crop is a staple in Duplin County where, bottle by bottle, the Duplin Winery is gearing up for a busy weekend at the 9th annual Muscadine Festival.
“Muscadine grape is the essence of Duplin Winery,” said Morgan Jackson, general manager for Duplin Winery.
Nearly all the wines in Duplin originate from the muscadine, a popular grape that is essential to the North Carolina wine economy.
“They’re sweet, fruity, delicious grapes,” said Jackson. “[They are] native to the south.”
Muscadine vineyards became popular in Duplin County once farmers realized they could grow it in the same soil as tobacco, which was also once very popular there. But now, the little grape is Duplin County’s signature.
“People love sweet tea, they love sweet women and they love sweet wine,” Jackson said. “And that’s what the muscadine gives us, is the sweet wine.”
And people will get to taste plenty of that signature, sweet wine at this weekend’s Muscadine Festival in Kenansville, where 23 vineyards from across North Carolina will be showcasing their best.
“People can taste some wines that they would normally have to go to the Yadkin Valley [Wine Trail] or maybe go much further in the western part of the state [for],” said Lynn Davis, director of the festival.
But people will also get to taste wines that are made right in our backyard.
“There are over 60 families that grow grapes for Duplin Winery, and many of those are housed in Duplin County,” Jackson said. “So it’s a great way to support the agritourism in Duplin County and be proud of this state.”
The festival will be going on through Saturday evening at the Duplin County Event Center in Kenansville.