Old South Winery.
65 South Concord Ave.
Natchez MS.
January 19, 1998

Natchez, MS On the outskirts of Natchez, you can find a somewhat misleading building front which at first glance might not beckon you to enter. Fear not, inside you will find the warmth and charm of Scott Galbreath III, and perhaps his parents who own the business. Natchez, MS This family produces the most interesting sweet wine made out of a local fruit known as Vitis rotundifolia, commonly called muscadine, which is native to the southern states and grows nowhere else save as an exotic. The muscadine, it is no exaggeration to say, could well be substituted for cotton in the first line of "Dixie" if one were to bow to botanical realism. The scuppernong variety of muscadine has a tough skin and is bronzy green in color, rather than black or purplish as were its ancestors. Its size, to use Natchez, MS traditional Tarheel parlance, is "about that of a hog's eye." As is the case with all muscadines, the fruit does not grow in conventional bunches, and when ripe it can be readily shaken from its vine. Its abundant juice is so deliciously sweet, with a kind of musky, fruity flavor, that when its unusual color attracted attention, in the general vicinity of present day Columbia, N.C., possibly toward the end of the eighteenth century, Natchez, MS specimens were transplanted or seeds or cuttings sown on neighboring farms and gardens whence in time its reputation spread throughout the botanical world. At first it was simply called the Big White Grape, for the name scuppernong, as we shall see, was not applied to it until some time after its choice qualities and immense productiveness were known in the Tidewater region of North Carolina. It came to particular notice in Tyrrell County, along the banks of a short stream that broadens into an arm of Albemarle Sound and had long since been suprisingly clear, which was also called Scuppernong Lake, though its official name is Phelps, after one of the two local hunters who penetrated the dense thickets surrounding it and "discovered" it in 1755.

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