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California Moscato / Muscat

Muscat wines, also known as Moscato, are made in still, sparkling and dessert styles. California vintners use Muscat grapes to produce wines in shades of white, pink and red, ranging from dry to intensely sweet. Many winemakers use 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.

California Grape Crush Tonnage by Muscat Variety
Variety 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019
Muscat Blanc 51,548 45,516 25,968 26,369 27,186 27,209 28,953
Muscat of Alexandria 125,514 158,521 180,237 170,431 203,941 175,554 194,275
Muscat Orange 3,358 3,126 3,540 3,790 3,263 3,370 3,327
Moscato Gaillo 92 33 47 12 16.7 14.5 32
Summer Muscat 5 5 -- -- -- -- --
Diamond Muscat 8 6 -- -- -- -- --
Total Muscat 180,525 207,207 209,792 200,602 234,406 206,148 226,587
Source: California Agricultural Statistics Service. Summer Muscat and Diamond Muscat not reported 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018 or 2019.