The Mississippi region of America has many interesting facets and is known for many things in the world of alcohol, from bourbon and vodka to pretty potent moonshine.
What many people don’t know, however, is that this area is also known for having a unique wine grape variety.
Dive in and discover the three top Mississippi wineries to visit, as well as learn about the incredible Muscadine grape that is a champion grower in all climates.
What Grapes Grow In Mississippi?
The Mississippi is known as a dry region, and as such, it’s uncommon to find European grape varieties doing well in the climate. This is why Mississippi wineries use a Muscadine grape – since these are indigenous American grapes.
This differs from most of the winemaking world and current wine industry trends since the grapes used in commercial wineries tend to specifically come from the Mediterranean regions of Europe. Unlike European grapes, Muscadine grapes thrive in the southern USA regions since they like the humid, hot climate that’s too harsh for other grape varieties.
This natural resilience is why they’re used by Mississippi wineries. Not only are they well-suited to the climate, but they’re also naturally resistant to pests and most diseases, which ensures that pesticide use during the grape growing season is mostly non-existent.
A Brief History Of Winemaking In Mississippi
The Mississippi region has been producing wine for as long as the state has been in existence (1817) – and possibly even before then. While no commercial wineries were around in the early days of the state’s formation, most families in the region used to create their own home blends harvesting from the plentiful Muscadine grapes which were found throughout the state.
The sweet, fruity wines that were made were a refreshing option on hot afternoons. However, almost 100 years later, in 1907, a statute banning the production and sale of Mississippi wine was put into effect – and Prohibition followed closely on the heels of that. This resulted in numerous counties within Mississippi that choose to remain dry up to today. The alcohol ban was first repealed in 1966, but it was only in 2020 that a law was signed into effect allowing the possession of alcohol across the Mississippi state.
Luckily, there are some Mississippi wineries – that have, despite the odds stacked against them – managed to keep the proud winemaking tradition in the Mississippi region alive and well and have created some truly delicious Mississippi wines.
How Many Wineries Are In Mississippi?
When it comes to Mississippi wineries, there used to be several wine farms and some select craft winemakers – but sadly, the past few years have seen most of these close. Which makes the following wineries in Mississippi well worth a visit for having endured and weathered the tough times.
These three commercial Mississippi wineries use the Muscadine grape which is well adapted to the humid, and hot climate which other grape varieties don’t fare so well in. This has resulted in a robust round-up of Mississippi wines that includes some unique wine varieties such as mead.
1. Queen’s Reward Meadery
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This beautiful Meadery found in the Tupelo region has created a unique crafted range of not only novelty meads but grape wines too. Their flavourful offerings have been a hit with locals since their doors opened in 2016, and all products are available online to order too. Their mead range includes Delta Dry, Delta Gold with its Riesling grapes, and a honey-grape mead called Scarlet Noir which has blended pinot noir grapes.
All their wines are made in small batches, which ensures a touch of personal care and love. They use local ingredients in the meads, such as the lemon flavoured Pucker Up and orange and cranberry flavours in their Rubee. Their signature wine star, however, is their original and traditionally made honey mead, which is dry with hints of cotton candy, citrus, spice, and floral tones that are 100% unique to the honey used and sourced.
2. Marcella’s Winery
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Found just across from the border of Alabama in Columbus is where you’ll find Marcella’s Winery. It is a small family-run winery which was created by Jimmy and Elaine Baswell. After putting years of muscadine grape growing and winemaking to the test, they’ve come up with some surprising flavour combinations that the locals are thoroughly enjoying. Not only do they have sweet and semi-sweet muscadine wine options, but fruit blends too that include pears, elderberries, blackberries, and blueberries. They host a variety of live events including local music talent.
3. Old South Winery
The Old South Winery found in Natchez, is one which has excelled at winemaking since 1979. One of their most famous products is a dry wine made from Muscadine grapes, known as the Dusty Noble, which comes as a surprise to many people who are under the impression that muscadine wines are only sweet. There are several other wines available from Old South Winery that will cater for those seeking something sweeter, however, as their motto is “The Best in Everything Muscadine”. Not only do they have some excellent wine varieties made from grapes, but there’s also a unique fruit wine they produce too made from blueberries.
What Wine Is Mississippi Known For?
While wine in the Mississippi region is not as prolific as other alcohol industries, wineries in Mississippi are known for producing wines from Muscadine grapes, known in Latin as Vitis rotundifolia. Muscadine grapes are a red variety that ranges in colour from dark purple through to a bronze hue. This ensures that the wine that is produced from them comes in many flavours and styles.
This includes rosé wines, sweet dessert wines, white wines, and of course red wines. The wines all bear a fruity, intensity and have a good medium-body weight. Flavours you can often detect in the final wine product include cranberries, bananas and even apples.
Cheers! We can’t wait to try what these Mississippi wineries have to offer – can you?
Born amidst the rolling vineyards of Napa Valley, Chloe’s love for wine was instilled from a young age. This passion led her to the picturesque wine regions of France, where she immersed herself in the rich wine culture and traditions.
Chloe’s dedication to the craft culminated in her becoming a wine sommelier, a testament to her deep knowledge and appreciation for wines.