|Subject||Muscat of Alexandria|
Country of origin: Egypt
Berry color: Yellow
Use(s): Wine, table
Common synonyms: Muscat d'Alexandrie, Muscat Romain, Moscatel Gordo, Moscatel Gordo blanco, Zibibbo, Moscatel romano, Muscat Gordo Blanco, White Hanepoot
Comments: The TTB-approved prime name is Muscat of Alexandria
Muscat of Alexandria is believed to have originated in North Africa and spread
The variety reached California in the mid 1800s, reportedly first brought in 1852 by Antoine Delmas, a member of the colony of French growers in Santa Clara County. It was also included in Agostin Harazthy’s large variety importation from Europe in 1861. It became the dominant raisin variety in California until the early 1920s. These plantings added to the tonnage used by wineries for the production of muscat dessert wines when seedless varieties came to dominate the raisin market. Fresh shipment for home winemaking is another common outlet for California growers. Presently, acreage is fairly stable, after gradual losses from declining markets of muscat raisins and dessert wine.
The variety is most commonly trained to bilateral cordons and pruned to 12 to 18 spurs with one to two nodes each. The permanent vine framework should be fully formed before normal cropping to avoid overcropping and weak growth at the end of the cordon. Shoots and clusters should be thinned for crop adjustment through the training period. Cordon development over a 2- to 3-year training period may be required for vines of moderate vigor.
The variety is susceptible to zinc deficiency, which results in poor fruit set and shot berries. This can be corrected by foliar spraying with neutral zinc or zinc oxide products before or during bloom. It is somewhat susceptible to overcropping. Exceptionally large yields—13 to 15 tons per acre—will shorten vineyard longevity, particularly in young, cordon-trained vineyards.
Muscat of Alexandria is used for muscat dessert, table, and sparkling wines, mostly in the warm districts of the San Joaquin Valley. It is also used in blending table and sparkling wines for the addition of fruity, muscat flavor and is a popular variety for fresh shipment for home winemaking.
Foundation Plant Services at UC Davis is the source of Foundation grapevine material for the nursery industry, and the staff can provide information about possible sources for obtaining this stock.
The National Grape Registry (NGR) contains information about varieties of wine, juice, and table grapes, raisins, and grape rootstocks available in the United States. Growers, nurseries, winemakers and researchers can find background information and source contacts for those grape varieties in this single convenient location.
Christensen, L.P. 2000. Raisin Grape Varieties (PDF). Pages 38-47 in: Raisin Production Manual. University of California, Agricultural and Natural Resources Publication 3393, Oakland, CA. Buy book
Christensen, L. 2003. Muscat of Alexandria (PDF). Pages 98-101 in: Wine Grape Varieties in California. University of California Agricultural and Natural Resources Publication 3419, Oakland, CA. Buy book