Muscadine Winegrowers and Winemakers Quality Enhancement Program

The NC Muscadine Grape Association is offering a Muscadine Winegrowers and Winemakers Quality Enhancement Program (M-QEP) and invites you to participate. Whether you are a muscadine winegrower or winemaker — or both — you’ll have an opportunity to improve your skills and the quality of your products and connect with others in the muscadine world.

The program consists of a series of interactive webinars and visits to wineries. All webinars will be recorded for those who cannot participate at the scheduled time. Winery visits will include discussions of essential lab equipment and winemaking equipment, a tour of the facility, and conversations with the winemaker. Sign up now to participate and you can have input on the dates and times of webinars and the focus of the later sessions!

M-QEP topics include

  • Summer Vineyard Management for High Quality Grapes
  • Grape Sampling  and Testing
  • Preparing for Harvest and Grower-Harvester-Buyer Relationships
  • The Essentials of Muscadine Winemaking
  • Improving Wine Quality

Participants can receive:

  • Free analysis of pre-harvest grape samples from your vineyard*
  • A Brix Refractometer for your vineyard*
  • Quality testing and analysis of at least one wine (finished or in process)*
  • Free registration to the NC Winegrowers Association conference in 2022*
  • One-on-one Design Consultation on your labels and branding*
  • A Certificate of Participation (or Completion of All Sessions)
  • And more!

*These benefits are limited to NC growers/winemakers. Availability may be limited by budget and other factors.  

Schedule of Sessions

Session 1 –  June 16, 10:30 am-12:00 : Summer Vineyard Management for High Quality Grapes  Virtual
For both wine and fresh market growers, the session will cover fertility management, pest and disease management, and more to help you produce the best quality grapes you can for your chosen markets or purposes. Led by NC State University Small Fruit Specialist Mark Hoffmann and Bill Cline, NC State University Dept. of Entomology and Plant Pathology.  Recordings and PowerPoints from this session can be found here.

Session 2 – July 14:  Grape Testing and Sampling  Virtual  Recordings and PowerPoints from this session can be found here.
Led by Mark Hoffman, NCSU;  Nadia Hetzel, Cypress Bend Vineyards; Renee Threlfall, University of Arkansas; Chuck Johnson, Windsor Runn Cellars

  • What sampling can tell you
  • Basic sampling, what every grower should do and know how to do
  • Types of sampling equipment, what they do, how to use
  • Brix refractometers for your vineyard
  • Protocol for juice samples for free analysis

Session 3 – July 21: Preparing for Harvest, Grower-Harvester-Buyer Relationships POSTPONED. A new date has not yet been set.

  • When to harvest, how to harvest
  • Review berry sampling/shipping protocols for muscadine juice analysis
  • Custom harvesting: Harvester limitations, expectations
  • Also possibly someone who hand harvests and how they make it work for them
  • Panel of grape buyers: Winemaker relationships, expectations, receiving, etc.
  • Forum for communication between buyers/sellers  

Session 4  – July 28: The Essentials of Muscadine Winemaking  Virtual
Led by Nadia Hetzel, Cypress Bend Vineyards and David Bower, Surry Community College.

  • Receiving and handling grapes at the winery
  • Essential lab equipment and winemaking equipment
  • Following the process from juice treatment through fermentation, clarification, racking, filtering, stabilizing, blending and bottling

Winery visits: Dates TBD

  • Cypress Bend Vineyards (Wagram, NC)
  • Treehouse Vineyard (Monroe, NC)

Additional sessions –  Dates TBD 

  • What is testing and analysis showing us?  
  • Improving Wine Quality
  • Branding and Marketing Your Wine

Sign up now to participate!

This program is supported by a grant from the NC Wine & Grape Council.