Beyond the fact that you can basically guzzle the stuff at brunch, or use it to soften the “I’m single” blow of a bridal shower (just check out divorce rates, it’s cool), Moscato’s got more history than most of us know. Except, yes, the rappers among us who’ve wisely chosen to associate themselves with a wine that’s rising like some kind of bad moon. (Young people, check this out.)
Moscato Day, otherwise known as May 9th, is our best shot at fixing all the misconceptions and addressing general—and deeply embarrassing knowledge gaps—in the world of Moscato. If something’s this popular, it’s gotta be a little bit, or a lot, good, right?
Moscato has a day.
Clearly, May 9th, since we’re all currently celebrating it. But for those of you only finding out on the day of, there’s always time to buy a bottle on your way home. The idea, as with other wine and beer holidays, is to highlight a particular product. Not that Moscato needs any more hype…
Moscato has been one of the best-selling wines in the U.S. for years
Starting in the early 2010s, Moscato was spiking anywhere from 73 to 100% in sales from year to year. Rabid sales have tapered off somewhat, but they haven’t staggered. In 2015, over 20 million people were buying Moscato in a three month period. That’s a lot of white wine.
Millennials loves us some moscato.
According to 2015 data, folks 40 and under—most in the Millenial range—are twice as likely to buy Moscato than any of the 26 other wine varieties in the study.
And yes, hip hop does have something to do with the rise of the stuff.
Starting around 2005, everyone from Soulja Boy to L’il Kim to some Canadian dude named Drake had something to say about the fizzy sweet stuff. And that drove sales through the roof from 2011 onward. Sales stagnated a bit, but never really dropped. Thanks, Drizzy! (Also, sorry about that headache).
Moscato comes from one of the most versatile grapes there is.
Moscato is made with the Muscat grape, which is also eaten as a table grape, and turned into sweet, sweet raisins (nature’s candy!). Whereas other grape varieties will have more tannins or higher acid, making them unpleasant for casual snacking, the high sugar content of the Muscat grape means it’s the only grape that can be used for wine and snacking.
It might be recently popular, but muscat is the world’s oldest known grape.
Like many items that rank on a “world’s oldest” list, the Muscat grape was probably started in Greece. Like wrestling in oil and breaking glassware out of celebration. Basically, Greece has always been awesome.
A muscat by any other name…is still a muscat. Sort of.
Muscat is actually the name of a grape family, and there are various members of the family all around Europe, including Alsace, Spain, Austria, and Greece.
Muscat and muscadine are two entirely different species of grape.
Yeah, the name sounds the same, but the Muscadine is part of the Vitis rotundifolia species—though you may know it better as the stuff behind Scuppernong.
Part of Moscato’s appeal is what makes other wines unpopular.
We’ve all heard a certifiable wine snob scoff at a sweet wine, or sidestep the lower ABVs for something in the Napa-style 14 to 15% range. Moscato is the opposite of that, both noticeably sweet and low alcohol (generally topping out around 10%). What that means is you can drink, heartily, without intimidation or any need to delve into the wine glossary. Not that you can’t also enjoy Moscato on a more complex level. But you definitely don’t need a monocle to celebrate it.
The other part of Moscato’s appeal is Nicki Minaj.
And how can you blame anyone for liking it because of this? (Sorry, just listen to the end verse of Monster.) Her drink is actually called Myx Infusions, because it’s Moscato infused with fruit flavors (mango, coconut, peach). Sweeter, maybe, but still not super high alcohol. And just a heads up, Minaj isn’t just a co-owner of Myx. She’s also a client. Or something.
By Emily Bell