These Mississippi Wineries Are Actually Good
It’s a Deep South state famous for many other things, but did you know there are Mississippi wineries?
They’re not like all the others. They have their own distinct personality and are a great example of enterprising winemakers putting their best fruit forward.
Pour a glass or two and swirl, sniff, and sip these unique wines from Mississippi.
Let’s dive in!
Do Grapes Grow in Mississippi?
In France and on our West Coast, there are lots of sunny days and cool nights. These conditions lead to great grapes, which are necessary to produce lush, palate-pleasing wines.
Unfortunately for aspiring vintners in Mississippi, the climate there is harsh by comparison. Most kinds of grapes won’t thrive when it’s so hot and humid.
Mississippi wineries rely on what they can grow successfully. The muscadine grape, which happens to be the only variety native to America, is their solution to these grape-growing challenges.
This hardy grape doesn’t mind the blazing summer heat, and its thick skin makes it resistant to pests and diseases.
Are There Any Wineries in Mississippi?
The U.S. has more than 10,000 wineries, and California claims nearly 40 percent of them. Mississippi is a leader in some areas, but it’s definitely at the bottom of the barrel in this category.
There are currently three Mississippi wineries. A few more show up in outdated listings. Unfortunately, COVID-19 shuttered several of them.
Pro Tip: If you find a bottle of wine you love while exploring Mississippi, before you crack it open in your motorhome make sure to read Can RV Passengers Drink Alcohol While It’s Moving?
What Is a Meadery?
When you’re exploring the small world of Mississippi wineries, you may also run across a tasty alcoholic beverage called mead. While a winery is a place where they make wine, a meadery is a facility that produces mead.
Popular in some cultures since ancient times, mead comes from fermented honey. It takes a little know-how and just three ingredients: honey, water, and yeast.
Modern mead-makers like to mix things up by creatively introducing additional flavorings.
Check Out These Mississippi Wineries for Great Mississippi Wine and Mead
Making wine from muscadines isn’t a new idea. Some practices and recipes have been handed down through a few generations. You can also make other products like jams, jellies, and hot sauces.
These three Mississippi wineries have turned old traditions into successful modern ventures.
1. Old South Winery in Natchez
Many people assume that muscadine wines are sweet. A taste of the Galbreath family’s Dusty Noble red wine or its white, Carlos, will dispel that myth. It has gained a reputation for “dryness,” or lack of residual sugars.
Some wine drinkers prefer a sweeter flavor profile, and the Galbreaths’ Old South Winery has them covered, too. The company produces ten different varieties, including one made from blueberries.
Dr. Scott Galbreath Jr.’s grandmother taught him to make muscadine wine when he was a teenager.
He and his wife, Edeen, started their Mississippi winery more than 40 years ago. A few years ago, they both passed away, but another generation of Galbreaths is building on their family legacy.
2. Queens Reward Meadery
Located in Tupelo, Queen’s Reward starts with those basic building blocks we talked about and creates some fantastic flavor profiles. These innovative Mississippi “honey wine” makers use their imagination and fresh, local ingredients to come up with winning combinations.
Their varieties include Pucker Up, with its pronounced lemon flavors, and RuBee, which offers a taste of North Mississippi cranberries.
Other styles blend the juice from wine grapes, which ferment along with honey. Pinot noir grapes transform Scarlet Noir while Rieslings add complex layers to their Delta Gold. Enjoy a sample in the tasting room, relax with a glass in the lounge, or take a bottle home.
Queen’s Reward has been in business since 2016 and has produced nearly 11,000 bottles of mead.
3. Marcella’s Winery in Columbus
After Jimmy and Elaine Baswell reached the age when many decide to settle down and retire, they launched a winemaking business.
They named it for Jimmy’s mother, who supported them by donating some land for their vineyard. The couple grows five different varieties of muscadines and is also experimenting with blueberries, blackberries, elderberries, and pears.
They love to treat visitors to samples of their wares and host live music events on their porch. After years of preparation, they opened in September 2020 despite the challenges of the COVID pandemic.
Pro Tip: If it’s wine o’clock but you’re not in Mississippi, check out these 5 Best Box Wines for Camping.
Is It Hard to Make Wine in Mississippi?
It would be difficult to produce wine in Mississippi if it weren’t for muscadines and their adaptability to the climate.
Another obstacle for would-be winemakers is that many of the counties in Mississippi are dry – laws in place that make alcohol illegal. That doesn’t just mean possessing it or drinking it – it pertains to producing it, as well.
Is it Worth Visiting Mississippi Wineries?
Maybe you’ve heard through the grapevine that Mississippi has good wine. Other states have miles and miles of wine trails. Tourists arrive from all over to line up for a winery tour and sample some red, white, or maybe rosé.
Mississippi wineries have a much lower profile, but they’re certainly worth seeking out.
Don’t wait too long to sample the wines made from what could be called Mississippi’s signature grape.
Have you ever had a Mississippi wine?
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