Have you ever heard of cotton candy wine? A wine that tastes like cotton candy but isn’t made with cotton candy grapes, which is shocking? It is made with a unique wine grape that we have never heard of before.

Cotton Candy grapes were bred to be seedless, green, and plump, with a cotton candy flavor. The grape was developed by The Grapery owners in California, who crossed a Concord grape with a famous grapevine. According to Atara Schayer, a Registered Dietitian at NorthShore, these grapes are nutritionally equivalent to any other grape and can have health benefits like Antioxidants and the ability to lower blood pressure and reduce inflammation, are both advantages. 

The only notable difference is in flavor. Some have speculated that the grapes taste so much like cotton candy that they were actually injected with flavoring, but this is nothing more than a sweet conspiracy theory. Cotton Candy grapes are non-GMO and 100 percent natural. Easy and natural breeding methods were used to create these fascinating little balls of flavor.

The calories and sugar content are slightly higher than your average grape, but they are still much better for you than refined sugars when consumed in moderation. These grapes make a great summer snack or sweet treat for kids, and they are also a good choice for those who want something sweet but are trying to eat healthier and avoid processed foods.

These grapes are available only for a limited period each year and in limited amounts, so savor them while you can!

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What is the aim of growing or hybridizing these grapes?

David Cain, a horticulturist, decided to restore the natural flavors of grapes, which he claimed has lost due to decades of breeding fruit to withstand shipping and storage. 

By crossing two existing grape varieties, he and his team developed the Cotton Candy grape (kind of like a pluot, a cross between a plum and an apricot). It took about 100,000 test tube plant attempts before they discovered the cotton-candy flavored grapes.

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Cotton Candy grapes: how do they taste like cotton candy?

Isn’t it true that chemicals are using to make the grapes taste so sweet? That is incorrect. According to Cain, the grapes have almost no tartness, and the rare grape varietals they cross-bred were chosen for their vanilla-like taste. 

The grapes themselves contain around 12% more sugar than regular table grapes, just a fraction of the sugar content of raisins. (So, yeah, they are all pretty healthy.)

Cotton Candy Grapes, are they good for you?

The expression “nature’s candy” has been elevated to a whole new level thanks to these tiny green bursts of sweetness. A small farm called the Grapery produced a new grape variety called the “Cotton Candy grape” in 2013. Each juicy bite bursts out with a burst of sugary-sweet cotton candy flavor. Consumers have flocked to stores and bought out entire shelves of this natural confection every year during August as soon as they arrive in stores. Lamenting only the terrifyingly short season in which the candies grow.

Despite their sweet taste, the sweets are known for being enticingly good. All the sweetness and none of the drawbacks? It seemed to be too good to be true. You are eating the nutritional value of a grape, but it tastes like circus candy.

And now we are learning that this isn’t wholly true: cotton candy grapes aren’t nearly as nutritious as regular green grapes.

Do not get too worked up about the crop just yet. The antioxidant-rich juices, natural sugars within, and fiber-filled skin of the sickeningly sweet fruits contribute to their overall health. Furthermore, the crops are entirely typical, non-GMO, and grown using simple breeding techniques — no artificiality is needed.

But the truth is that extra sweetness always comes at a price. And in this case, it is all about the food. A cup of grapes has about 62 calories and 15 grams of natural sugar, while a cup of cotton candy grapes has about 100 calories and 28 grams of sugar. That is almost twice as much sugar, which makes sense considering the sweet taste is nearly doubled. Sure, they are still nutritious foods; they will only trigger a far more considerable spike in blood sugar than their plain-flavored equivalents.

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Cotton Candy grapes are available, but when and where?

Cotton Candy grapes, like all grapes, are in season (and at their tastiest) from May to October. They typically appear in stores in early autumn, and according to Grapery’s website, they are in season from August 10 to September 10. 

However, they have been showing up at grocery stores earlier and earlier in recent years (as in, right about now). If you are looking for grapes, go to your local grocery store. Cotton Candy grapes are more readily available than ever before, owing to their popularity. They usually cost about $4 per pound and seize them when you see them.

Schiava Cotton Candy Wine

Schiava is made from the Schiava grape (pronounced “Ski-ah-vah”), which is also known as Vernatsch, Black Hamburg (in England), or Trollinger (in Germany). It is the primary wine produced in Alto Adige, the Alps’ northernmost wine region.

Schiava is similar to inhaling a bouquet of roses while being massaged by Strawberry Shortcake. Surprisingly, because it is so feminine, elegant, and light, this wine has slipped under the radar for years.

Schiava Tasting Notes

Schiava is a light red wine with odors of cotton candy, cherry, bubblegum, and lemonhead candy (similar to Pinot Noir). The wine is light in color and delicate. The flavors are mild on the palate, and Alto Adige producers often make dry wines to avoid overpowering the palate with sweetness, which is already provided by the aroma. Since the grape is grown in a cold environment, the alcohol content is slightly lower (12 percent ABV).

What to Look for and Where Does It Grow?

Schiava is mainly grown in Italy’s Alto Adige region and Germany’s Würtemberg region. A lot of Schiava is made in Germany under the Trollinger name. However, since Germany consumes a lot of its own juice, this wine is more likely to come from Italy. 

Since the area in Italy where Schiava grows has three official languages (German, Italian, and Ladin), there are a few different names to remember:

Edelvernatsch

Which means “noble local,” is made from Schiava Gentile, one of Schiava’s finest varietals.

Kleinvernatsch 

Kleinvernatsch means “tiny local,” which is made from the most widely planted variety, Schiava Grosso.

St. Maddelena/St. Magdalener DOC 

A generic term means “slave” and refers to the vine-training process (pergola) that causes the vines to grow fewer leaves. The official classification of wines produced in Alto Adige with the Schiava variety in Italy often made rich with a splash of Lagrein is St. Maddelena/St. Magdalener DOC

Despite their rarity, wines made with Schiava are still reasonably priced. Expect to pay between $10 and $18 for a fantastic bottle of Schiava wine.

Fun fact

The Schiava grape is an ancient grape that comes in a variety of varieties. Schiava Grosso, for example, is regarded as the workhorse Schiava grape, while Schiava Gentile is considered to be the fine wine grape.