Catwba Wines - Printable Version

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- PaulMGomez - 04-26-2000

Could someone please tell me what Catawba wine is? I'm at a loss. Thankyou.

- Kcwhippet - 04-27-2000

Catawba is a grape developed in the early 1800's and has a very noticeable Labrusca aroma and flavor. It's generally used to produce sweetish white and blush wines in the eastern and central states. It's a varietal usually ignored by serious wine drinkers.

- Thomas - 04-27-2000

Catawba was not developed in the 1800's, it was discovered in the Carolinas. It is believed to be a "field hybrid" which is to say, it is a natural hybrid that cross pollinated in the wild, likely a native variety with some vinifera experimental grapes that were tried in the south from the seventeenth to the nineteenth century but did not survive.

The earliest successful wine industries in the U.S. (Cincinatti, OH; Hermann, MO; Hammondsport, NY) were built on Catawba-based wines--a lot of sparkling wine. In fact, among the first successful wines in the first California wine region, near Los Angeles, were often Catawba wines, brought west by German immigrants who were afraid that vinifera could not make it in the U.S.

Great Western sparkling wine (Hammondsport, NY) was hailed in the late nineteenth century; it was made from Catwaba then, and it is made mostly from Catawba today.

One of the last wines Thomas Jefferson tasted and commented on happened to be a successful production of Catawba. He liked it.

Generally, it is a much better tasting eating grape than wine grape; my standard poodle loves to walk among the Catwaba vines behind my property in autumn. In fact, I managed to train him to stay with me by offering handfuls of Catawba bunches as treat!