Types and Usage

You might think you know grapes, but given the sheer volume of variety in these juicy orbs that are eaten and pressed into beverages, there is a lot more to this fruit than what you see in the produce section and wine shop.

Frankly, it’s overwhelming when you start to think about all the grapes out there. To get you started on your next grape adventure, check out the profiles of these 15 popular varietals. To keep it simple, we separated them by red and white. You may already be familiar with some, while others sound like they were concocted in a fantasy novel, but all are edible and delicious.

1. Moon Drops: Finger-like shape with dark purple, almost black skin. The flesh is firm and crunchy, giving this variety a nice snap that also helps it maintain in the refrigerator for days.

2. Concord: If you have ever had Welch’s classic grape juice, then you know exactly what the Concord tastes like. Bright, sweet and full of that signature dark grape flavor.

3. Pinot Noir: You find this thin-skinned vitis vinifera in tight clumps of deep purple fruits. “Pinot noir has flavors and aromas of ripe cherry, wild strawberry, earthiness and caramel,” says Dreaming Tree winemaker Sean McKenzie.

4. Lemberger: The plump grapes have a dusty blue color with a tannic berry essence. If you peel the skin back, you get more sweet, dark fruit flavors.

5. Sweet Jubilee: You will know these grapes by the large black ovals that make up a bunch.

6. Valiant: These cold-weather beauties taste a lot like Concords, and have an easy-to-remove skin and high-sugar flesh.

7. Champagne: These are some of the smallest berries you can find, roughly the size of a pea, which makes them perfect for decorating a plate, popping in you mouth as a snack or giving to kids. They are tender and sweet, with a pleasing crunch.

8. Crimson Seedless: They are firm and sweet with a pleasing tartness and have a long shelf life. The color is usually a pale brick red, sometimes with greenish streaks.

9. Kyoho: Large, dark black-purple berries with a big inedible seed and thick, bitter skin. You will want to peel off the outside to enjoy the sweet fruit underneath, which has a similar taste to the Concord grape.

10. Cotton Candy: Cotton candy in grape form, hands down.

11. Riesling: As a grape, this specimen runs on the sweet side, with floral undertones and high acidity. This fruit also picks up the terroir of the land, meaning if the soil has more minerals in it, the grapes reflect that.

12. Gewürztraminer: It may surprise you find out these white grapes have a pink-red skin, nothing like the almost clear wine you tend to see in the glass.

13. Moon Balls: These round hybrid grapes come out large and green, almost like an edible bouncy ball.

14. Sultana: Sultanas are small, light green oval-shaped grapes that pack a wallop of sugar. Once dried, the sugar concentrates and produces that earthy-sweet raisin flavor everyone knows.

15. Fry Muscadine: Coming out about the size of a cherry tomato, these fruits turn a nice gold color when ripe that just adds to their sunny sweetness.

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