By Clint Thompson
South Carolina’s muscadine harvest season is still five months away, but the crop looks ripe for a productive season. That optimistic outlook comes from Bruce McLean, Jr., a Clemson (S.C.) Extension area commercial horticulture agent for Dillon County, Horry County, Marion County and Malboro County.
“I’ve been out a few times, walking vineyards and really looking at them. A lot of the muscadines in my area are more juice and wine type of muscadines, the Carlos or Noble type of varieties or Doreen. Those are looking really, really good,” McLean said. “They’re really just budding out now, just producing floral buds. They’ve been leafed down for a couple of weeks now. So far, they look really nice.”
McLean said this time of year is designed to help farmers capitalize on their fertility programs. He works with a lot of them 1-on-1 to see what tweaks can be made to their spray programs as well.
He estimates that there are approximately 100 acres of muscadine vineyards that are produced in South Carolina. These vineyards are mostly 15 to 20-acre vineyards.
“It’s definitely something that a lot of growers are wanting to be expand out on,” he added. “We’re also trying to help find them markets. And maybe looking at fresh markets to complement as far as the juice and wine market as well.”
Muscadine harvest in South Carolina is generally reserved for September.
“It’s still mighty early. Anything can happen. Right now, we’re just looking at spray programs to really protect the crop as much as possible and maximize yields,” McLean said.