There are several factors to consider when choosing a muscadine cultivar. Cultivars are often broadly defined as either juice or fresh market cultivars.
Adaptability to your region is always important in choosing a cultivar. Our cultivar tests took place in south Georgia and our recommendations are specific to this climate. For more information, read the paper detailing this cultivar test entitled A Century of Muscadine Grape Breeding at the University of Georgia (pdf).
If you are looking at growing vines elsewhere, especially in more northern regions, please visit our related links page to find recommendations for these regions.
Juice cultivars are primarily chosen based on yield and quality of the juice. Size is not as important nor is a dry scar, although it is better if the scar is drier. An important factor in choosing a purple juice grape is pigment stability. Muscadine pigments are not as stable as those in Vinifera grapes, and this leads to the juice taking on a brownish color over time. The leading purple juice cultivar, 'Noble' is popular because its pigments are more stable than most other purple cultivars.
Fresh Market Cultivars
Fresh market cultivars need to have a large berry size, a dry picking (stem) scar, sweet flavor, uniform ripening for once-over harvest, and an attractive appearance. U-pick cultivars need large berry size, but can have a longer harvest period to extend the season and a wetter scar since berries won't be stored as long.