If you’re looking for a unique way to experience the rarity of Lowcountry wines, Charleston Winery Tours with Crafted Travel are a perfect way to experience the buzz that truly sets this region apart. Far from the familiar vines of Napa Valley or Sonoma, winemaking in the Lowcountry is a one-of-a-kind endeavor all its own.
Boasting handcrafted wines made from the only grape variety indigenous to North America, the Muscadine grape, Lowcountry winemakers harness the true heart of southern winemaking. During a Charleston Wine Tasting Tour, you can sample sweet varieties of local Muscadine wine in addition to other wines and blends featuring fresh fruits from local farmers. However you decide to try these unique wines, you’re in for a sippable treat steeped in Lowcountry elements, history and signature southern hospitality.
While any variety of wine can technically be made anywhere thanks to easy shipping and sharing of ingredients, the types of wine grapes that grow in a particular region are subject to Mother Nature herself. Southeastern North America, specifically the Lowcountry, is very restricted in the types of grapes that will grow here, thanks to our wet, warm climate.
While the Lowcountry climate is perfect for year-round vacations and––you guessed it––Charleston Winery Tours, it’s less than ideal for growing popular wine grape varietals found in places like Napa Valley or the Bordeaux region of France. You won’t find any pinot noir or chardonnay grapes growing amongst the live oaks.
Lowcountry winegrowers face unique challenges that those in more popular regions are spared. Hurricanes, sweltering summers, horrific humidity and abundant wildlife pose some challenges that make most grape varieties poor candidates for survival. Fortunately, we have the pleasure of enjoying juicy Muscadine grapes that lend themselves perfectly to the tepid climate and specific craft of Lowcountry winemaking.
The Muscadine grape is the only grape variety that is truly indigenous to the contiguous United States, and their cultivation dates back to the 16th century in parts of Florida. Scuppernong grapes are an especially popular type of Muscadine found in the Charleston area, and a favorite among winemakers, chefs and local diners alike.
Muscadine grapes have uncommonly thick skin, which makes it a hearty candidate for growing in tough climates and resisting disease and pests. The thick skin and berry are also bursting with hefty helpings of antioxidants, polyphenols, resveratrol, and ellagic acid. These compounds give the grape a boost into the coveted “superfood” category and have been shown to help conditions like obesity and liver problems and may even support heart health.
These days, you can find around 3,000 acres of Muscadine vines growing throughout the United States. This larger-than-life grape is grown in regions of Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Mississippi and it’s home state of Florida. But nobody perfects and celebrates Muscadine wine quite the way the Lowcountry does.
It’s next to impossible to find Muscadine wines produced outside of the southeast region of the United States. Wine snobs all over the world tend to shrug off wines made from this grape variety. But in the south, it's considered somewhat of a local celebrity and rite of passage into Lowcountry society.
Historically,Muscadine wines are known for being overly sweet. The Muscadine grape is naturally quite bitter, so many old winemakers would add astronomical amounts of sugar to balance their concoctions. This practice unfortunately led to a stigmatization of this wine variety, pushing it out of popularity for many wine connoisseurs.
Today, experienced Muscadine winemakers (like those at Deepwater Vineyard in Wadmalaw, SC) truly know how to work wonders with this unique grape, finessing its finest features to produce wines with a much more subtle, balanced sweetness.
Muscadine grapes can produce white, red and rosé varieties. For wine drinkers who prefer sweet, fruit-forward sips, Muscadine wines are a perfect find. Some of the sweeter varieties are likened to a tawny or port wine, so consider enjoying these wines as an after dinner treat or an accompaniment to pecan pie or banana pudding for a truly southern experience.
Muscadine wines are not made for aging. Wine made from this region-specific grape is best when consumed fresh, so it’s uncommon to find it far from the winery where it’s made. This elusiveness is just one of the features that make Charleston Wine Tasting Tours so unique.
Exploring wineries in the Lowcountry is nothing like a visit to Napa Valley. The craft of winemaking is relatively new to Lowcountry and southern regions, only taking flight about 35 years ago after prohibition stopped it in its earliest tracks. Because of its young age in comparison to old-world winemaking, wineries in this region often lack the stiffness of strict tradition and unwavering technique used in classic winemaking.
Muscadine winemakers are often experimenting with new recipes, blends and approaches to find a perfectly unique harmony that represents their region. Visitors and locals on a Charleston Winery Tour can expect southern hospitality in the place of snobbery, and a more personal (sometimes hands-on) experience.
Following nature’s lead, winegrowers in the Lowcountry fully embrace the Muscadine grape and the artful wines it produces. Winemaking, in all forms, is more or less a form of art. The delicate balance of flavor, sweetness, color and acidity is a symphony of many instruments, and Lowcountry winemakers are downright phenomenal composers.
When you embark on a Charleston Wine Tasting Tour with Crafted Travel, you’ll have the privilege of visiting Charleston’s only active winery, Deep Water Vineyard. The winemakers at Deep Water craft unforgettable Muscadine and Scuppernong wines made from grapes grown right on-site.
This unique Lowcountry winery also uses fresh fruits from local farms, like strawberries from neighboring Ambrose Farms and fresh local blueberries, to produce fruited wines that pair perfectly with chocolate and other decadent desserts, or serve as a sippable dessert all on their own.
On your very own Charleston Winery Tour, you’ll have the opportunity to try all of these home-grown wines, and may be able to dabble in other varieties and blends made at Deep Water Vineyard from grapes sourced from California. If you visit at the right time of year, you may even get to sample the grapes themselves, which ripen in the summertime. No matter the season, you can always roam through the vines that produce the giant, juicy grapes.
When you’re ready to experience Charleston like a local, a Charleston Wine Tasting tour is just the ticket. Try the wines that Charleston natives hold in reverence as a regional treasure, and experience the multidimensional elements of wine you can’t find just anywhere. With Crafted Travel, you can sit back, relax, and enjoy the authentic buzz of Lowcountry wine that’s as sweet and southern as it gets.
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