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Stayman Winesap AppleMalus domestica ‘Stayman Winesap’

A lovely combination of tart and sweet, the Stayman winesap apple has been popular since the days of the pioneers. They are not only tasty but also long-lived after being harvested, lasting 6 months or more in the refrigerator. The rich, wine-like flavor works well for applesauce, pies, and cider, and they are delicious eaten fresh.

When planting these trees, be sure to include other apple varieties such as red or yellow delicious, Jonathan, or early harvest to ensure pollination.

Hardiness Zones

The stayman winesap apple can be expected to grow in Hardiness Zones 5–8. View Map

Tree Type

This is a fruit tree, grown primarily for the edible fruit it produces.

Mature Size

The standard Stayman winesap apple tree grows to a height of 20–25' and a spread of around 25' at maturity. The semi-dwarf variety grows to a height of 12–15' with a spread of 12–15'. The dwarf variety grows to a height of about 10' with a spread of about 10'.

Growth Speed Slow Growth Rate

This tree grows at a slow rate, with height increases of less than 12" per year.

Sun Preference

Full sun is the ideal condition for this tree, meaning it should get at least six hours of direct, unfiltered sunlight each day.

Soil Preference

The Stayman winesap apple grows well in acidic, loamy, moist, rich, sandy, silty loam and well-drained soil. It is not drought-tolerant.


This tree:
  • Produces a medium- to large-sized apple that is crisp and juicy with a flavor that blends sweet and tart--giving it a wine-like taste. The apples are great for fresh eating, applesauce, pies and cider.
  • Yields ripe fruit typically from mid- to late October. The fruit will keep for 6 months or more if refrigerated.
  • Blooms midseason, with pink flowers (rather than the traditional white or pinkish-white apple blossoms).
  • Bears a good crop consistently if not subjected to late frosts or freezing conditions.
  • Is available in standard, semi-dwarf and dwarf sizes. Our Stayman winesap seedlings are budded onto whole rootstock; our semi-dwarf seedlings are grafted onto Malling-Merton III; and our dwarf seedlings are grafted onto Malling 7A, Malling 26.
  • Requires regular watering.
  • Has a chill hours (CU) requirement of 600–800. (Chill hours are the average hours of air temperature between 32° and 45° F in a typical winter season.)
  • Can be pollinated with red or yellow delicious, Jonathan, early harvest or a variety from a different apple family.
  • Grows upright in an oval or round shape but can be pruned to a more spreading, horizontal shape.
  • Cannot be used to pollinate other apple trees, as it is a triploid.
  • Bears fruit in 6–10 years if standard, 4–6 years if semi-dwarf and 3–4 years if dwarf.
  • Needs a compatible cultivar--growing within 100' of the tree for standard, 50' for semi-dwarf and 20' for dwarf varieties-- to ensure pollination.

Wildlife Value

Apples are eaten by a variety of birds and mammals. The leaves and branches are browsed. The trees can be destroyed by rodents and rabbits girdling the stem or trunk. It produces nectar and/or pollen, thus providing nutrition for bees in early to late spring.


During the 1800s, winesap apples were beloved because of their long shelf life. This fruit kept long into the winter, providing something delicious and healthful to eat during the snowy months.

In 1886, Dr. J. Stayman of Leavenworth, Kansas, noticed a seedling of a winesap apple that was apparently slightly different than the rest. It eventually produced apples that he deemed superior to other winesaps. The apple growing community agreed, and the cultivar was given his name.