What are Winesap Apples?

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Winesap apples are an apple cultivar developed in the mid-1800s. These apples may sometimes be difficult to find in commercial settings because they can be difficult to handle once they have ripened, as they tend to crack. They can most commonly be found at farmers' markets and grocery stores that carry a broad selection of apples, including heirloom and rare varieties. People who want to grow their own Winesap apples can order seedlings through a nursery.

Winesap apples, which were developed in the mid-1800s, are now usually sold through farmer's markets.
Winesap apples, which were developed in the mid-1800s, are now usually sold through farmer's markets.

When ripe, Winesap apples have a rich red color over a greenish to yellow base and some have completely dark red skin with no hints of green at all. The flesh of the apples is extremely juicy and yellow to cream in color. Flavorwise, Winesap apples are tart but not excessively so. They are a highly flexible apple cultivar suitable for both cooking and eating plain, although because they are so juicy, they can make pastries like pies soggy unless cornstarch or flour is added to absorb some of the moisture.

Apples may be used to make kompot.
Apples may be used to make kompot.

These fruits are visually attractive and in regions where they are available, they are popular for displays of fruit, fruit baskets, and other types of presentations where people want to be able to use bright red apples. People who want to purchase Winesap apples in bulk may be able to negotiate a discount for buying apples by the crate. Crated apples can often be delivered by special arrangement for individuals who cannot transport them.

People interested in growing Winesap apples can order trees through a local nursery. Staffers will usually have recommendations on when to plant based on the climate conditions in the area and their own experience with apples. Like other apples, these trees need to be well cared for with annual pruning and appropriate fertilization to keep yields consistent. It is also possible to graft slips from a Winesap apple tree onto an existing apple tree if there is no room for another apple tree in the garden.

Known formally as the Stayman Winesap, after the person who developed the cultivar, Winesap apples are not capable of self pollination. They must be paired with another apple varietal that does produce pollen in order to set fruit. Golden and red delicious apples are commonly partnered with Winesap apple trees, although other trees can be used as well. People should not rely on community trees for pollination, as the pollen may not travel all the way to the Winesap tree.

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a wiseGEEK researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

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Discussion Comments


@HappyDay45: Good, tasty apples require several hundred hours of cold weather per year. Check out the local agricultural extension station for your county to find out how many chilling hours a year are normal for your area, and then pick a variety of apple tree that can thrive at that number. I made the mistake of buying an apple tree that requires colder weather than my area usually gets, and my apples are usually small and mealy.

Don't be sidetracked by nursery employees who talk about cold-hardy apples -- most apple trees are cold-hardy. They prefer cold weather. Find a knowledgeable nursery person who understand the need for chilling. Good luck.


@HappyDay45 - If you want to know what apples grow best in your area my opinion is to check with a local nursery that has apple trees for sale. They are the most like to have the best information.


@HappyDay45 – Honey Crisp is an apple that is considered an all purpose apple that you can use for cooking or eating. Pink Lady is primarily considered an eating apple. One of the advantages of cooking apples is that, in general, they do store better.

What you do with your apples can be up to personal preference. You can find guides on the Internet that list the best use of different apple varieties, but you might want to do a little taste testing to find what you and your family like best.

In our family I prefer to cook with Granny Smith apples, but our son prefers to eat them fresh.


I have been reading some about apples lately, because we want to plant some apples trees in our yard. I would like some that are good for eating and cooking like the Stayman Winesap apples.

I was wondering what other apples can be used for both eating and cooking?

My two favorite eating apples are pink lady apples and honey crisp apples, but I don't know if they are good for cooking, too. I also need to know if they can be grown in the 6b planting zone.

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