Professor Dennis Gray, who led the research, said the black fruit features exceptional taste and texture with an edible skin, making it well-suited for fresh fruit consumption and the potential for wine production. The name Delicious was selected based on the comments of vineyard visitors who sampled the fruit.
Gray said the berries of Delicious are oval shaped and reddish, turning dark purple/black when ripe. Fruit ripening dates vary seasonally but tend to occur during early August at Apopka, Fla., which he said is two to three weeks earlier than other muscadine cultivars.
Although Delicious is being released primarily as a fresh eating grape, it has some potential for wine, the researchers said. Based on preliminary trials, the flavor of the wine (2006 vintage) rated equal to those of "Carlos" -- a popular cultivar for wine -- by a panel of 30 winemakers.
The research appears in the February issue of the journal HortScience.