Florida Adopts New Table Grape, Majesty

Disease resistant, this big-berried variety has a longer shelf life than other Muscadines

by Hudson Cattell
Majesty Muscadine Grape
Berry diameters of 35 mm are typical in the thick-skinned Majesty grapes.
Muscadine grapes are popular in the South both for eating and for making aromatic, fruity wines with a flavor unlike that of any other grape. Grape breeders there work toward developing new varieties that have larger berries, better shelf life and increased disease resistance. Recently, Florida A&M University in Tallahassee, Fla., introduced a new large-fruited Muscadine table grape variety and named it Majesty.

Majesty is a cross between Supreme and Triumph that was made in 1997 by Dr. Jiang Lu, professor at the University's Center for Viticulture and Small Fruit Research.

The new cultivar with the trial name "O26-5-8" was selected in 2001 because of its high productivity and exceptionally large berry size. Berry diameters of 35 mm are typical, and with the average berry weighing 16.5 grams, it is 3-4 grams heavier than the largest Muscadine variety, Supreme, currently on the market. It has firm flesh texture with relatively thin skin.

The berries have attractive red-black skin color and ripen uniformly in late August in north Florida. In the vineyard, the vine is vigorous and highly disease resistant, with very low fruit rot and relatively low wet scar.

Majesty is a female variety that needs pollinators. Its mean soluble solids concentration is 15.2%, with low acidity. The wine has the typical strong, fruity flavor of the Muscadines. "In addition to its appearance," Dr. Lu told Wines & Vines, "Majesty will have a longer shelf life because of the firmness and texture of its berries."

For further information including sources of vines, contact Dr. Jiang Lu at the Center for Viticulture and Small Fruit Research, Florida A&M University, 6505 Mahan Drive, Tallahassee, FL 32317; Phone: (850) 412-7393; e-mail: jiang.lu@famu.edu.
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