Stayman Winesap Apple Review

"A Civil War Era Mistake"

Horse Food
Stayman's Winesap Apple

Wrap a damp tee ball in an old t-shirt and you will begin to experience the masochistic horror that is the Stayman Winesap Apple. Each jaw-breaking bite is taken on the chin like a punch from Apollo Creed, and then followed by an interesting wine-like flavor that is most likely comprised of 40% tooth blood. The semi-tart wallop bellowing forth from this tank-fruit is absorbed by a hardened cloth-like skin that drapes down your neck like a swallowed roll of used medical gauze. Discovered in Leavenworth County, Kansas in 1866 by Dr. Joseph Stayman as a seedling of the Winesap Apple, for some reason the apple world (helmed by the Stark Bros.) quickly deemed this new cultivar as worthy of national attention. It must be assumed that anything outside of the murder fields of Gettysburg was welcome in this troublesome post Civil War era.


Branding / Consistency
Cost / Availability




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Red Apple Icon



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Late Fall – Early Winter


Cider, Pies


Virginia Stayman, Stayman

22 thoughts on “Stayman Winesap Apple Review”

  1. Winesap apples in Wyoming are tiny and a little sour but good and they aren’t the best for eating but they make AMAZING jelly, butter, applesauce, and preserves

  2. RIV to you but i’m different and there is no other apple like a stayman. complex sweet-tart flavor, wonderfully crisp, tough but biteable skin, and an aftertaste that reminds you that you have just had a Really Good Apple. this is not a masochist’s apple but it is a challenging apple. an apple that demands attention. an apple you are supposed to analyze rather than consume passively. the dark souls of apples, perhaps. with every other review on this site i have found some point to agree on but all i can say to this is, in the spirit of this being the dark souls of apples: git gud

  3. The “Stayman Winesap” apples I have had are disappointing. In the 1980s and 90s Kroger’s and other major grocery stores sold an apple called just “Winesap” that was juicy, crisp, a little tart and sweet both, but it also truly had a flavor of wine, a hint of fermentation. It had little splotches of pink in the flesh. It was a wonderful apple (second only to Jonathan apples). The Staymans I have had (including fresh from NC orchards) aren’t anything like them. Wish I knew where I could find that variety I used to enjoy so much.

  4. Having grown to appreciate the many delicious eating apples of Washington State where my son lives, I like to look for other varieties to sample. Came across the Stayman that was grown locally near Charlottesville, I picked one up for grins. Saw this description before I cut it up to sample and fell over laughing. I found it to be a little grainy with a thicker peel and not that bad flavor wise, a bit like the apples available to me as child in the Deep South other than the Red Delicious. Not my favorite for sure.

  5. You’ve smeared the best apple on the planet. The most elite Stayman Winesaps stand on the pinnacle of heirloom apples.

    But true to the name Winesap, they must be approached like fine wine. You’ve got to know the good stuff from the swill.

    For example, there exists no fruit on Earth as lush and full-bodied as the Stayman Winesap apples sold at Terhune Orchards in Lawrence Township, New Jersey. I know this because I am a well-traveled connoisseur of the spherical orbs.

    The flavor profile should be deep and complex, earthy and elegant. Texture and mouthfeel should be thoroughly pleasurable and downright sensuous. When this is the case, no other type of apple compares.

    So, two questions:

    1. Where the heck did you get YOURS?

    2. How are we to rank Apple Rankings if literally the BEST apple on the planet gets your WORST review?

    1. I’m with Slade Barker on this. Stayman Winesap apples are the best. I lived in Middlesex County, New Jersey in the 1980s and had my first taste of Stayman Winesap at a local farm stand. It was love at first bite. I’ve been on a lifelong quest to find them again since I moved to Virginia.

    2. i’m honestly starting to come to the conclusion, based on the lively discussion in the comments here, that there may in fact be two different heirloom varietals of the stayman winesap out there, having now had some excellent ones from Barnard’s Orchard in Kennett Square, PA and some absolutely horrendous ones from my current locale. our apple-ranking friend Frange here seems likely to have stumbled across the Shit Tier staymans, which brings me to an interesting third(and a half) question(s):

      3) how are we to tell the difference between the Shit Tier varietal and the God Tier varietal?
      3.5) and what are we to name these two vastly different types of guy (and by guy i mean apple) to avoid future confusion with similarly devastating consequences?

      1. It’s worth another look since the Stayman apple is an heirloom with many different sports depending on region and it seems growers don’t frequently discern between those sports when naming them. To confuse matters further the Winesap apple is a very similar heirloom with many sports as well and sellers don’t frequently name various sports of the Winesap. And finally, the third layer is that the Stayman-Winesap (a combination of the Stayman apple and Winesap apple) is a totally different apple that sometimes growers just call “Stayman” or just call “Winesap”. For the average consumer it’s difficult to know which of these many apples you’re gonna get and so, for now, I have only ranked the Stayman-Winesap regardless of region. But based on the positive comments I will look into it further.

  6. I have been living in Florida for 20 years but do still occasionally remenice about the wonderful Stayman-Winesap experienced often in the Blue Ridge/Front Royal area of Virginia. It is the tart, sweet taste of a cool Fall morning. Wish I could grown them here alongside tropical fruit but, alas, everything has it’s best place.

    1. What places around Front Royal would you find them at? I’m in that area currently and have only found one orchard with them so far (near Sperryville) and was not impressed, but these were always my parents’ favorite apples and my mother used to sing their praises, so I’m determined to find good ones somewhere.

  7. Once again, Stayman winesap is an apple that requires a great deal of attention when growing, and has to be picked at the right time. If the grower knows what they are doing, it can easily be one of the best apples on the planet. But I also, have had some pretty bad Stayman winesaps before. Those instances of course, were only when I tried them from different growers, new to me, who had absolutely no idea what they were doing. When the grower sucks, even most of the other prestigious apples they grow will taste of ass.

  8. The Stayman/Winesap apple is my favorite to eat out of hand! Love the flavor/bite it has. I wait every year for them to ripen here in Ohio, late October.

  9. Those from Virginia and North Carolina know that Staymans and Winesaps are two different apple varieties. It even says so on the Virginia government apple website (VA Apple Board, part of the VA Dept. of Agriculture – Maybe update this to reflect that? It sounds like what you’ve had is just the Winesap variety.

    1. Yeah it’s really confusing! Stayman-Winesap is different from Winesap – some call the Stayman Winesap its own apple some say Stayman Winesap and Stayman are the same thing.

  10. I don’t know what you ate but it wasn’t a Stayman. Or it was old and not properly stored.

    Almost every other apple variety commonly found in stores is downright boring to me in comparison. Honeycrisps/Sweetango are okay but still are a far cry from and much, much less versatile than a Stayman.

    It has a very complex flavor and is an excellent keeper (it’s Feb and I just used the last of my apples for a pie, most were still in great shape).

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