Moscato Giallo is a vigorous variety with fruitful basal nodes and high yield potential when spur pruned. The clusters are large, loose, pyramidal and with large, bright-yellow, thick-skinned berries, ripening in late September or October in the San Joaquin Valley of California. Due to its high yields, relatively good disease resistance, and good wine quality potential, it can be considered a viable option to better known muscat varieties such as Muscat of Alexandria.
Origins and History
Moscato Giallo originated in Italy, an offspring of Moscato Bianco, and either a grandchild, or half sibling, of four other “Moscatos”, including Moscato di Scanzo, Moscato Rosa, Moscato di Allessandria, and Moscato Violetto, all of which originated in Italy (D’Agata, 2014).
Moscato Giallo is vigorous and fruitful on spurs. It is considered susceptible to phomopsis (D’Agata, 2014), but otherwise relatively disease resistant. Clusters are large, elongated, pyramidal, and loose, with one to two wings and round, thick-skinned, bright-yellow berries (D’Agata, 2014). D’Agata (2014) described Moscato Giallo as being fairly early ripening (late August to early September), but in trials at Parlier, it usually ripened in late September or October. In the Kearney trial the clusters were essentially rot-free in two of four years, with higher rot in the other years. Higher rot associated with excess irrigation or later harvests.
Vines in Parlier, in the south-central San Joaquin Valley, were trained to quadrilateral cordons, and spur-pruned. Under this system the vines were vigorous with high yields of good quality fruit. This variety is not particularly susceptible to most diseases other than phomopsis. Its loose cluster architecture and thick berry skin helps keep bunch rots low, but bunch rots can become a problem if irrigated excessively or harvested particularly late.
Moscato Giallo is suitable for dry or sweet wines, but rarely sparkling wines (D’Agata, 2014). Varietal wines have a golden-yellow color, are aromatic, and have moderate acidity (Robinson et al., 2012; Table 2). D’Agata (2014) stated that Moscato Giallo “prefers” cooler climates, but wines made from grapes grown in Parlier, California, were of good quality, with less bitterness than some other muscat varieties, but perhaps not as desirable terpene character as Muscat Canelli.
D’Agata, I. 2014. Native wine grapes of Italy. University of California Press, Berkeley.
Robinson, J., J. Harding, J. Vouillamoz. 2012. Wine Grapes. HarperCollins, New York