Skip to content

California Moscato / Muscat

Muscat wines, also known as Moscato, are made in a variety of styles to suit just about every taste. California vintners use Muscat grapes to produce still, sparkling and dessert wines, in shades of white, pink or red, ranging from dry to intensely sweet. Many winemakers are using the grape to produce low-alcohol, spritzy white wines.

The Muscat grape has been grown around the Mediterranean for many centuries. In fact, Muscat Blanc—considered the most noble member of the Muscat family—may be the world’s oldest winegrape variety. Muscat Blanc is the grape most commonly used to make California Muscats/Moscatos, and is often characterized by aromas of Mandarin oranges, orange blossoms, Meyer lemon and pears. Other Muscat varieties include Muscat of Alexandria, Orange Muscat, Muscat Gaillo (sometimes called Giallo), Diamond Muscat, and Summer Muscat.

A 2011 article in Market Watch magazine declared that the United States was gripped by “Moscato madness,” fueled by the wine’s approachable style and affordable price-point. However, the category’s explosive growth has become more moderate in recent years. According to The Nielsen Company U.S. Supermarket data, Moscato accounted for 6.2 percent of the wine sold by volume in U.S. food stores in 2018. The total crush for all California Muscat grapes in 2018 came in at 206,148 tons.

Grape Crush Tonnage by Muscat Variety
Variety 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018
Muscat Blanc 51,548 45,516 25,968 26,369 27,186 27,209
Muscat of Alexandria 125,514 158,521 180,237 170,431 203,941 175,554
Muscat Orange 3,358 3,126 3,540 3,790 3,263 3,370
Moscato Gaillo 92 33 47 12 16.7 14.5
Summer Muscat 5 5 -- -- -- --
Diamond Muscat 8 6 -- -- -- --
Total Muscat 180,525 207,207 209,792 200,602 234,406 206,148
Source: California Agricultural Statistics Service. Summer Muscat and Diamond Muscat not reported 2015, 2016, 2017 or 2018.