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Copyright © 2015
by Fred McMillin
Worthless or Wonderful?
Worthless—1850: The richest man in Ohio, and the state's foremost vintner, five-foot-one Nicholas Longworth declared the Norton grape "worthless" for viticulture...difficult to grow, marginal ripening and low yields in Ohio.
Wonderful—1868: America's leading enologist, George Husmann, professor of horticulture at the University of Missouri, declared "the best red wines of Europe are surpassed by the Norton as an astringent, dark red wine, of great body, fine flavor, and superior medical quality."
Who Was Right?
1873—Norton Claret wins a gold medal in Europe (Vienna).
1878—Norton Claret wins a silver medal in Europe (Paris).
1991—Dr. Edward Hellman, Dept. Of Horticulture, Kansas State University, says the experts still feel that Norton has the potential to compete with the finest wines in the world.
A Thanksgiving Thought
With the wonderful American holiday of Thanksgiving approaching, why not include a bottle of wine made from what is arguably America's best native wine grape. In any case, a Norton is...
Our Wine of the Day
1997 Private Reserve Norton
"Bland" Beginnings—Sometime around 1820 at Richmond, Virginia Dr. Daniel Norton inadvertently crossed the native American grape named Bland with Miller's Burgundy. The result was the Norton, that does not make Bland wines.
Much More About the Winery
For More About How the Norton Reached Missouri
St. James Contact—Ann Miller, (573) 265-7912, FAX (573) 265-6200
Missouri Wine Milestones—In 1867 Missouri surpassed Nicholas Longworth's Ohio as the nation's second largest wine producer.
The first federally-approved American viticultural area was not in Caliornia or New York, but Missouri.
Flattened by Prohibition, the wine industry in the state was virtually dormant until a resurgence started three decades ago. Among the leaders were Pat and James Hofherr, who risked their life savings and in November 1970 opened the St. James Winery!
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This page created November 2000