Ark of Taste
The Norton grape is the oldest cultivated American grape. Dr. D.N. Norton of Richmond, Virginia first grew the hybrid in 1820 and produced wines through the late 1800s. During this time period, Norton wines were highly valued in both the US and Europe
Today, farming of the Norton grape is concentrated in Missouri, where it is the official state grape although the largest norton grape vineyard (69 acres) is said to be in Middleburg, Virginia. The grape is highly adaptable to local growing conditions, as it is durable, hearty and nearly immune to all disease. Vintners value this grape for its ability to produce high-quality, dry table wine.
Described as intensely 'grapy' in flavor, the Norton is similar to the concord, but slightly less sweet. The Norton grape has a small, but strong following and many vintners express an inability to produce sufficient crops to fulfill demand.