Friday, October 27, 2017

Winesap vs. Stayman Smackdown

At farmers market, careless vendors sometimes confuse these two varieties, which are thought to be related (Stayman, son of Winesap). But they are not the same.

How then does each stack up against the other?

Both are classically shaped red apples. Winesap (at left), still sometimes know as Winesop for its savory notes, has a blush that is less complete than Stayman's. Still, at its darkest the Winesap blush approaches a very similar hue.

Where the blush is more tentative, however, Winesap shows tan lenticels, and there are unblushed green regions on the apple.

My Stayman, also known as Stayman Winesap, is wider and blushes a darker, purpler red, with dramatic light lenticel spots. This is enlivened by traces of a light smokey bloom.

Stayman's peel is a little more satiny than that of shinier Winesap. It is the prettier apple.

But, it is Round 2 that counts the most: what's inside.

There, Winesap is crisp, with juicy flesh that is medium coarse, a very light yellow shot with green highlights.

The flavors are delicate and a little watery, but include that savory quality I noted in my review and for which this variety is no doubt named.

The peel is thick and chewy.

The inside of my Stayman is similar: a little whiter, more fine-grained and less juicy, but still crisp and refreshing.

Not as crisp as Winesap, however—or as fragile. Stayman is more substantial, and an excellent keeper. I think it must be for these reasons that it is often judged the finer of the pair

The fruity flavors are a little more pronounced, and in addition to the savory note there is the whisper of some pear mixed with the ghost of vanilla.

These are also present in papa Winesap, though, along with some cidery goodness. I think the savory note is clearer in Winesap, too.

These apples are so similar that must be related. I rated them both with 2 stars.

But if I have to pick a winner, it is Winesap by the slimmest margin.


  1. How would you compare them for cooking? Stayman is top-notch for apple butter.

    1. Beth,

      Alas, I don't evaluate apples for cooking (see my disclaimer).

      But of the two, Stayman is denser and would probably hold up better to baking.

  2. I remember loving winesaps as a kid. Haven't seen them in years. Any way I can buy some online to be shipped to Chicago?

    1. Hello thoughts: Alas, I do not grow them, let alone ship them. But I hope you can find some!

  3. Hey Adam- I ordered 18 of winesap and 18 of Stayman from I have sampled one of each and liked one better than the other but in looking at the apples, I am wondering if I didn't just get two mixed boxes. In the box marked winesap,there are many with the little white dots. I like the one from the stayman box better, it tastes richer and more complex...actually more like wine than the winesap. Wonder if it's truly a stayman!


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