Catawba (grape)

Catawba is an American red grape variety used for wine, as well as juices, jams and jellies. The grape may have a distinctive musky or “fly” flavor. Primarily grown on the East Coast of the United States, this crimson red grape variety is likely a cross between the Native American Vitis labrusca and the Semillon variety of Vitis vinifera. Its exact origins are unclear, but it appears to have originated somewhere on the east coast of Carolina in Maryland. Catawba has played an important role in the early history of American wine. By the early to mid 19th century, it was the most widely planted grape variety in the country and was the grape behind Nicholas Longworth’s famous Ohio sparkling wines, which were distributed as far away as California and Europe. Catawba is a late maturing variety, often ripening weeks later than many other Labrusca cultivars, and like many Vinifera cultivars, can be susceptible to fungal grape diseases such as powdery mildew.