I was surprised to discover that the early Quakers were not teetotallers. Horton’s grandmother had 2 wine glasses in the inventory of her estate, and Horton seems to have considered going into wine production. At the very least, he was making or planning to make wine for his own consumption.In November of 1831 he writes:
“among my acquaintances on the Catawba I have found a native vine which still had on its branches (which covered a large forest tree) perhaps a bushel of the sweetest and finest grapes I have ever eaten they were somewhat shriveled but I have a sample of them corked in a bottle for him to taste of – and I hope I can preserve them in good case they are as large as a stout rifle ball, an of the bunch grape, suitable for wine, thin skin and juicy, but taste very sweet and somewhat flavoured like the Fox grape, or between it and the Muskadine, or Muskadet which grow here spontaneously and I have the promise on my return of cuttings from one of these ….. the bunches of which as well as the grapes are generally very large and frequently 9 inches long. – – I have some thought of going to Columbia …..where my friend W Bee says I can get a kind of native grape which is more to be relied on than any other – as they never rott, nor blast and always bear and are a choice wine grape.”
Not being familiar with the 2 grapes mentioned I had to do a little research – the Muskadine has been used in the making of sweet wines since the 16th century. The Muskadet produces a drier wine with a slightly musky tasting. Did he know what he was talking about, or did the grape he found really have resemblance to two very different grapes?