The comprehensive resource for apples and orchards

Winesap apple



Winesap is a well-known American heirloom apple, and was a major commercial variety in Virginia during the 19th century.  Its origins are unknown but it probably dates back to the 18th century.  It has all the qualities needed for commercial production - it is a regular heavy cropping tree with very little biennial tendency, and the apples can be kept in natural cold storage for a good 3 months or more.  It can be eaten fresh but is primarily a culinary apple, also popular for juice/cider production.

Commercially Winesap was eclipsed during the 20th century by varieties such as Red Delicious, and to some extent by one of its own offspring Stayman (Stayman's Winesap) which has many of Winesap's qualities but a sweeter flavor.  However it remains a respected and popular garden apple tree, with the additional advantage of having blossom that is unusually red by apple standards.

Last updated 18 Mar 2012.

Rate this variety for flavor

Current rating: 4.6 out of 5. Total votes cast: 19
 

Visitor comments

(Use the form at the bottom to add your own comments about this variety)

28 Mar 2014 
NO better memory of this beautiful variety than picking and eating winesap apples after a tough football game. These were old trees that were left over from the farm my suburban tract home was built on. Laying on the ground or picking from the tree,they were the best. A flavor and juicy delight I will never forget.


31 Jan 2014 
The Winesap is is one of those classic apples that is becoming difficult to get. A pity because what sets them apart from the travesties pushed on us in supermarkets is the rich depth of flavor. Heirloom apples like Winesap have a spiciness that modern apples lack. Needless to say they work beautifully in pies and tarts. The apple is also fantastic as a snack (esp. if you love the developed flavor of good apple cider), but will spoil you forever once you've tasted one. While I still think Jonathan is the best apple ever, the Winesap comes pretty darn close and I snap either up whenever I can find them.


18 Mar 2013 
This flavorful old variety is getting hard to find in eastern Massachusetts. Love it out of hand, but would like to get enough to make cider.


14 Feb 2013 
At the risk of redundancy, this was my childhood favorite, and remains one of the best apples to my experience so far. My buddy who owns the tree I have eaten from for half of each of the past two years is selling his house, so now I must get scions for grafting. This apple makes fabulous sauce, pies, crisp and I can only imagine the juice if squeezed!


22 Oct 2012 
Judy, Central Market in Dallas has Winesaps when they're available, which I believe I was told is mid November. Another option with the pie would be to take the Alton Brown approach, toss the apples in some of the sugar used in the filling and let them drain in a colander for an hour and a half or so, this will prevent them from watering down your pie and the drained juice can be reduced and spread on top of the pie crust for a wonderful apple caramel coating.


24 Sep 2012 
To the person that struggled with the juice in the pie pan issue - I too am a Jersey resident, and Winesap apples are THE apple for me. AFter many years of struggling with the juice issue in the pies, I saw a cooking show that said to saute the apples lightly in butter for about 5 minutes to cook off the extra liquid. To this day, I have never had a soupy pie. Try it!


07 Feb 2012 
I have lived in Dallas,TX for 9 years and have not been able to find any Winesaps. I remember eating them when I lived here 30 years ago. Does anyone know where I can find them here?


25 Jan 2012 
Like the commentator and former Jerseyman Mr. Wes Rolley, I also await until the Winesaps are out before visiting farmers' stands. And of course, that means no sooner than early fall. Sadly, they have all become tourist traps these last few decades. It was the Winesap that opened my eyes to apple connoiseurship. In my public high school we were compelled to take a half semestre cooking class. At home afterwards I would try my hand at Betty Crocker recipe apples pies. They were always excellent with Winesaps as filling, and mine were my favorite apple pie until the farmers' stands began offering the caramel/walnut upgrade a few years ago (at $20+ a pop!). My father preferred my own to even his mother's, though she could make them quickly, in greater number, with a coal fired oven, and given whatever other constraints one might encounter in depression-era Philly. My misgiving about my pies-and by that I mean the Winesap-was the syrup that would form at the bottom of the pie. While it didn't prevent the bottom crust from crisping, it happened every time and the cookbook failed to address it. People used to suggest cornstarch or extra flour, but I wanted to avoid the pasty mess I find in the worst store bought pies. Perhaps next fall I'll try it and see what results-in a worse case scenerio, I'll deal with the syrup. Of course, I'll also experiment with wet nuts and caramel! But getting back on track, I so look forward each year to that cool weekend day when I drive alone down my favorite road, the White Horse Pike, to beautiful Hammonton to pick up my large basket of Winesaps, that I try to leave the house on an empty stomach. Immediately upon leaving the market-keeping an eye to make sure no other cars are nearby!-I lustily chomp into a large example of that treat I waited so long for! The loud crisp snap that competes with One Republic on upgraded speakers! Every time caught by surprise by the spray that fires in all directions-face, windshield, eyes-from this ultra juicy fruit! My hunger quenched first by the sweet, hot-heel followed by an acidic tart! The sun on my face, the wind in my hair! Whew!!! Winesap!!! Chomp, chomp, chomp! I will certainly regret sharing this, but this experience is so transforming and mystical for me that in my single Pagan tradition, I toss part of my apple out the window into a copse of trees to share back some of the bounty which that land had lent to me. p.s. Kudus to Faye Kane, nice read! p.s.s. Can't find much 'net clarity on the difference between colonial Winesaps and the Stayman strain! Need more scholarly disseration on the former.


24 Jan 2012 
I just bought some Winesaps today at the Fruit Bowl in Cumberland, MD for $0.69/lb., in case anyone is looking in the western MD area. I can't wait to bake with them tomorrow.


15 Oct 2011 
I used to wait for the winesaps to ripen before visiting fruit stands in NJ. In California now and planing apples, so I planted one. We just picked it tonight and it was so good. Planted between an Ashmead Kernel and a Chojuro Asian pear.


15 Sep 2011 
I came here specifically to see if "Winesap" is an apple species or a name brand owned by a company that went out of business. Apparently, it's an apple species that went out of business. When I grew up in New York, in the sixties, we had a Winesap tree and I thought apple=Winesap. I only found out that there were other, inferior, kinds of apples after many years. Like those dry, mealy Red "Delicious" apples. But like so many other yummy foods in this God-forsaken used-to-be country, the REAL kind has been replaced by waxy, plastic simulations that make things more profitable for big businesses; like tomatoes, apricots, canned spaghetti. Cheddar slices and crunchy hard rolls at the Strawtown mom 'n pop corner grocery disappeared along with the store, their groceries, mom, and pop. Only the corner remains, with the Super Mart where we can buy the aptly-named American "cheese food product" and "hard" rolls that have crust as soft as the tasteless white bread inside. Well at least I found out here that other (old?) people miss Winesaps too. BTW, I'm 22. When did I turn into an old person? I look in the mirror and say WTF is THAT?? It must have happened while I wasn't paying attention.


21 Apr 2011 
Ate this as a child in North Carolina and have been trying to find them in stores ever since. Juicy, firm and tart with a taste like no other apple. I went to the organic store tonight looking for another apple to try and wondered whatever happened to Winesap apples. Figured I would investigate. Think I will buy one and a pollinator for the yard now that I know they still exist. Consumers will have very limited choices for fruit varieties in the future unless the DEMAND goes up for heirloom and locally grown produce.


02 Apr 2011 
Nice to know there are still winesaps grown commercially in the state. I'll have to visit those listed sites on my next trip to the Wenatchee area. In the meanwhile, a Whole Foods outlet in Seattle orders Winesaps especially for me, which I really appreciate. None of the other markets I know of in the city carries Winesaps.


02 Feb 2011 
Hi all in WA - Orondo Cider Works (N of Wenatchee, along hwy 97) grows and sells Winesaps. I discovered them there, and they have since become a favorite of mine.


23 Jan 2011 
Teresa et al, We are happy to be the recipient of a red flesh wine sap from a friend who has them on Salt Spring Island. We are also interested in accessing suitable rootstock this year for some of our other heritag apples if you have any suggestions please feel comfortable letting us know. We live on a small heritage farm that has some nice trees, however we still look forward to adding some additional variety. We also like the wolf river apple as well as others like the bel de bos koop. This past season I also tried the sweet 16 and liked it very much. Will keep posted. Debra


20 Oct 2010 
Teresa: Also check into Feil Pioneer Fruit Stand on Hwy 2, E. Wenatchee (address 13073, if memory serves). They have many heirloom apples, and they might have Winesap. I went there for a first taste of Golden Nugget, Ashmead's Kernel, Hudson's Golden Gem, Lady, Calville Blanc d'Hiver, Spartan, Roxbury Russet and Karmijn de Sonnaville. Tasting the Golden Russet and KdeJ has changed my plans for the back yard! (Already growing a young Ashmead.) Hope you find Winesap.


19 Oct 2010 
Teresa in Wenatchee area: I just helped a friend in Spokane pick his apples and I believe they are Winesap. They sure remind me of my childhood favorite. Are you growing any apples on your property and, if so, have you tried grafting? I might be able to arrange scion wood late this winter.


25 May 2010 
A bowl full of these exudes a wonderful aroma in a room. You can still find them here in VA if you look at local fruit stands, farmers markets. Intense flavor. I've one planted now to make sure I can always get some. My 96 yr. old grandmother in law says they're the best pie apple.


09 Apr 2010 
I live in the intermountain area of WA state where the famous Wenatchee apples are grown. The apple commission told me they are grown throughout this area, but when i talked to an orchardist he told me that it is rare to find anyone who grows them anymore. I miss them, the new apples coming out don't compare.


16 Nov 2009 
I grew up eating this in northeastern Indiana (Kercher's Orchards), and they are one of my favorites. I consider the flesh a bit mealy, which I like. Tart and sweet, but not overly so. I had not had these in years - since moving away from Indiana. I live in the Los Angeles area and I recently found some from a local grower at our farmer's market: I was so happy!



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Often known as Virginia Winesap, a tart small apple, and like many US heirloom varieties, keeps well in store.

Winesap phototape

Origins

  • Species: Malus domestica
  • Parentage: Unknown
  • Originates from: Eastern states, United States
  • Introduced: 1800s
  • Orange Pippin Cultivar ID: 1203
  • UK National Fruit Collection accession number: 1951-103

Identification

  • Flesh colour: Pale Pink or Red
  • Flesh colour: Yellow to Very Yellow

Using

  • Uses: Eat fresh
  • Uses: Cooking
  • Uses: Juice
  • Cooking result: Textured puree
  • Flavour quality: Very good
  • Flavour style: Aromatic
  • Harvest period: Late season Late September in southern states
  • Use / keeping: 3 months or more

Growing

  • Cropping: Good
  • Flowering period: Mid season
  • Flowering group: 3
  • Fertility: Self-sterile
  • Ploidy: Triploid
  • Pollinating others: Poor Winesap pollen will not pollinate any other apple variety.
  • Vigour: Average growth
  • Gardening skill: Average
  • Precocity: Slow to start bearing
  • Fruit bearing: Spur-bearer
  • Attractive features: Attractive blossom
  • General disease resistance: Good
  • Period of origin: 1800 - 1849

Climate

  • Climate suitability: Temperate climates
  • Climate suitability: Tolerates cold winters

Disease resistance

  • Mildew  - Very resistant
  • Cedar apple rust  - Very resistant
  • Fireblight  - Some susceptibility

Relationships to other varieties

Offspring of this variety:

References and further reading about this variety

  • Cedar-Apple Rust  
    Author: Stephen Vann, University of Arkansas, Division of Agriculture (FSA7538)
    Rated as resistant - control only needed under high disease pressure.

Winesap identification photos from official fruit collections

UK National Fruit Collection

©Crown Copyright more >
UK National Fruit Collection

Winesap identification photos from website visitors



Fruit tree register

Do you have a tree of this variety in your garden or orchard? If so please register the details here and contribute to our international register of fruit trees.

The following Winesap trees have been registered - click the name to view more details of each tree.

You can also view these trees on a map.

United States

United Kingdom

Canada

New Zealand



Latest Spring blossom records for this variety

2014 season

  • 19th May  2014  - tree owned by Brenda in MARION, United States
  • 6th May  2014  - tree owned by Alison in HADLEY, United States

2013 season

  • 20th May  2013  - tree owned by Richard in YORK, United Kingdom
  • 9th May  2013  - tree owned by Alison in HADLEY, United States
  • May  2013  - tree owned by Brenda in MARION, United States

2012 season

  • 8th May  2012  - tree owned by Judy in PINERIDGE, United States

2009 season

  • 18th April  2009  - tree owned by Ted in Portland, United States

Record your blossom dates in our Fruit Tree Register - more >>.

Latest harvest records for this variety

2014 season

    2013 season

    • 2nd week September  2013  - tree owned by Brenda in MARION, United States

    2012 season

    • October  2012  - tree owned by Judy in PINERIDGE, United States
    • 1st week August  2012  - tree owned by J. in DANVILLE, United States
    • 1st week August  2012  - tree owned by J. in DANVILLE, United States

    2009 season

    • 2nd week October  2009  - tree owned by Ted in Portland, United States

    Where to buy apple trees

    The following fruit tree nurseries offer Winesap apple trees for sale:

    Where to buy apples

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