California Moscato/Muscat

Moscato’s popularity has grown in recent years, and comes in styles varied enough to suit every taste. Muscat grapes produce table, sparkling and dessert wines, in shades of white, pink or red, ranging from dry to deliciously sweet. Traditionally, Italian winemakers used the grape to produce low-alcohol, spritzy white wines often poured as an aperitif. While today’s versatile wines pair well with many dishes, sparkling and late-harvest Moscatos are particularly good with fruit tarts or rich cheesecake.

The Muscat grape has been grown around the Mediterranean for many centuries. In fact, Muscat Blanc may be the oldest known winegrape variety. Muscat grapes comes in wine, table and raisin varieties. In addition to Muscat Blanc, which makes the majority of wine in California, other Muscat varieties include Muscat of Alexandria, Orange Muscat, Muscat Gaillo, sometimes called Giallo, Diamond Muscat, and Summer Muscat.

According to Nielsen Company U.S. Supermarket data, 5 percent of the wine sold by volume in U.S. food stores in 2016 was Moscato. The 2016 total crush for all California Muscat grapes came in at 200,602 tons, more than double that of 2011.

Grape Crush Tonnage by Muscat variety

Variety 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016
Muscat Blanc 23,465 36,649 51,548 45,516 25,968 26,369
Muscat of Alexandria 65,603 78,418 125,514 158,521 180,237 170,431
Muscat Orange 2,045 2,461 3,358 3,126 3,540 3,790
Moscato Gaillo 38 84 92 33 47 12
Summer Muscat 4 3 5 5
Diamond Muscat 194 122 8 6
TOTAL MUSCAT 91,349 117,737 180,525 207,207 209,792 200,602

Source: California Agricultural Statistics Service. Summer Muscat and Diamond Muscat not reported 2015 or 2016.