September is prime time for harvesting muscadine grapes, which are native to North Carolina. The grapes are known for making some sweet and popular wine enjoyed all over the country. Cascading waterfalls of muscadine grapes fill barrel after barrel in Duplin Winery's vineyards. "This is harvest time, if we don't get now, we're not going to get it,” said winery president Dave Fussell. He added that harvest season picks up the day after Labor Day and runs through mid-October. Employees work round the clock with the final product in mind. "Muscadines produce wines that are fun; they're kind of cool, sweet and easy, and we're hoping that our wines will taste just like you're underneath the grape vine eating the grapes,” Fussell said. Duplin Winery is made up of 1200 acres of muscadine grapes. This year, they hope to produce seven tons per acre. Although the season is off to a fruitful start, Fussell said the weather could have been a bit more cooperative; rain takes away from the grapes' flavor. "We've had a little more rain than we would have liked at the end of August here in Rose Hill, but some of our outlining vineyards have had very little rain." Muscadines thrive in this hot, humid environment. They're full of antioxidants and resveratrol, which keeps your heart healthy, but you'll only taste their sweetness. "We think muscadine grapes produce the best sweet wines in the world,” Fussell said. You don't have to enjoy muscadines only in wine; you can find them sold on their own in the grocery store, and at roadside stands.
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