I shall not undertake to describe all the kinds of grapes which this country produces; it is even impossible to know them all; I shall only speak of three or four.
The first sort that I will mention does not perhaps deserve the name of a grape, although its wood and its leaf greatly resemble the vine. This shrub bears no bunches, and you hardly ever see upon it above two grapes together. The grape in substance and colour is very like a violet damask plum, and its stone, which is always single, greatly resembles a nut. Though not very relishing, it has not however that disagreeable sharpness of the grape that grows in the neighbourhood of New Orleans.
On the edge of the savannahs or meadows we meet with a grape, the shoots of which resemble those of the Burgundy grape. They make from this a tolerable good wine, if they take care to expose it to the sun in summer, and to the cold in winter. I have made this experiment myself, and must say that I never could turn it into vinegar.
There is another kind of grape which I make no difficulty of classing with the grapes of Corinth, commonly called currants. It resembles in the wood, the leaf, the tree, the size, and sweetness. Its tartness is owing to its being prevented from ripening by the thick shade of the large trees to which it twines. If it were planted and cultivated in an open field, I make not the least doubt but it would equal the grape of Corinth, with which I class it.
Muscadine grapes, of an amber colour, of a very good kind, and very sweet have been found upon declivities of a good exposure, even so far north as the latitude of 31 degrees. There is the greatest probability that they might make excellent wine of these, as it cannot be doubted but the grapes might be brought to great perfection in this country, since in the moist soil of New Orleans, the cuttings of the grape which some of the inhabitants of that city brought from France, have succeeded extremely well, and afforded good wine.
Du Pratz wrote of two boys breaking twigs from muscadine vines planted in New Orleans and severely damaging the new plants. The father pruned the twigs, and the vines recuperated, pushed out new shoots and even put on another bunch of grapes.
Du Pratz, Le Page. The History of Louisiana: Or of the Western Parts of Virginia and Carolina. 1774. London.