December 18, 2023
Norton is not just a classic, it’s a wine for the ages. It’s our state grape, complex and rich in flavor. Every January, we recognize and honor this special grape.
This grape varietal was originally discovered in Virginia but eventually made its way to the Show-Me state. When Norton arrived in Missouri, it became the star of the show on a national and international stage. A Hermann winery won gold at the World’s Fair in Vienna for their Norton.
German settlers in Hermann set the standard for today’s winemakers who continue to carry on their legacy. Since 2011, the Missouri Wine Competition has recognized and awarded the best Norton in the state with the C.V. Riley award. The award is named in honor of Charles Valentine Riley, the state’s first appointed entomologist who is credited with helping save the French wine industry. Riley discovered that American rootstock was naturally resistant to the Phylloxera, a pest that nearly decimated the vineyards in France.
This year’s C.V. Riley award winner was also the Governor’s Cup winner - Stone Hill Winery’s 2020 Old Vine Reserve Norton. The winery’s President, Jon Held, says, “This wine is extremely unique since it’s produced entirely from a pre-prohibition vineyard of Norton vines planted during the 1860s.”
Jon says “This tiny ¼ acre vineyard only yields two to three barrels of wine per year. This precious vineyard was the source of cutting wood for renewed plantings of Norton as the Missouri wine industry was restarting in the 1960s. It is a special tribute to win with a wine from these old vines since we celebrated the 175th anniversary of Stone Hill Winery last year.”
Norton is a great wine to age and to keep in your collection for years to come.
Celebrate Norton Month by enjoying a glass of the ‘Wine for The Ages’.