There is something very beautiful about the name Winesap. It sounds like it should be a type of apple found in The Shire of Middle Earth. It’s color is bright and red, rather wine-y in color, and it hangs from the tree like an ornament.
The Winesap has an unknown origin, although it is believed to have originated from Delaware, and flourished in North America in the 1800s. An apple for eating and cooking, it is especially prized for cider. The 1905 Apples of New York states, “The Wine(sap) apple is richly entitled to a place on our list, for it is not only beautiful in appearance but is hardy, productive and of a flavor which is peculiarly agreeable to most persons; it is also equally well adapted to the dessert and kitchen, and makes the most delicious cider.” However, as ‘juice apples’ fetched lower prices at the market, the Winesap fell out of popularity in favor of other varieties.
Century Farm Orchard notes, “Sometimes called Red Winter, this Winesap ripens later than most, sometimes hanging on the tree into November. It is entirely covered in dark red and a much larger apple than most Winesaps. It is the best keeper and its flavor improves over several months. I have been able to keep these apples well into May in my refrigerator. They also make good cider. “
Hanging from the bow
Like Mars in the twilight sky
You watch the autumn plough
Glinting red from on high
Destined for the barrel
Is the Winesap carol
Apple Description & Taste
Date Purchased: February 1, 2019
Date Eaten: February 1, 2019
Grower: Samascott Orchards, Kinderhook New York
Location Purchased: Union Square Farmers Market, NYC
Texture: The flesh is crisp and crunchy. The meat of the flesh is compact and not particularly watery.
Appearance: Smallish apple. Deep red with small pink ombre hues.
Flavor: Immediately noticeable - it is not a particularly sweet apple, and there is a sourness to the back end of the flavor. The skin is noticeably “funky” and I can immediately understand why this is a beloved cider apple. I imagine that it would make a very dry, funky kind of cider (my personal favorite).
Winesap Only Cider: Foggy Ridge Cider’s Old Virginia Winesap Cider