Norton (grape)

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Grape (Vitis)
Norton grapes growing on the vine
Color of berry skinNoir
SpeciesV. vinifera, V. aestivalis hybrid
Notable regionsMissouri USA
BreederDaniel Norborne Norton
VIVC number3304

Norton is grown in the Midwestern United States, the Mid-Atlantic States, and northeastern Georgia. DNA data are consistent with 'Norton' being a hybrid with ancestry including V. aestivalis and V. vinifera.[1]

Norton was first cultivated in Richmond, Virginia, and is the official grape of the State of Missouri, and is considered the cornerstone of the Missouri wine industry.[2][3][4] Daniel Norton first purveyed the Norton cultivar during the early 19th century from his vineyards in Virginia, USA.[2]


A bottle of Norton wine sits next to what is believed to be a 170-year-old Norton/Cynthiana grapevine in Hermann, MO.

The Norton cultivar was introduced by Daniel Norborne Norton of Richmond, Virginia, who selected it from among what he believed were seedlings of a long forgotten grape variety called Bland, though there is some doubt as to whether it was the actual source of the seed which yielded Norton. The male parent, presumably, was a wild vine of Vitis aestivalis.[2][5][6] Another cultivar, called Cynthiana, closely resembles Norton, but has traditionally been considered a separate variety. Genetic studies, however, have shown the two to be indistinguishable.[7]

This grape became available commercially in 1830 and very soon after that came to dominate wine production in the eastern and midwestern states like Missouri and Ohio in the United States.[6] Since this grape lacks the distinct, "foxy" flavors that are typical of Native American Vitis labrusca grapes, it is quite suitable for making dry wine. Vineyards were pulled up and Concord grapes were planted in their place, for juice and jam. After prohibition, the wine industry in the eastern half of North America never recovered to the same degree that California's wine industry did.

In the 21st century, United States wineries along the east coast and throughout the midwest are re-cultivating and producing wines from Norton grapes, such as at Chrysalis Vineyards in Middleburg, Virginia, which has 69 acres (28 ha) of Norton grapes.[2]

Anthocyanin content[edit]

Notable for deep blue-purple pigmentation, the skin of Norton grapes has a higher content of total anthocyanins (888 mg per 100 g) than other purple grape cultivars, Concord or Marechal Foch grapes.[8]

Anthocyanins are the largest group of water-soluble pigments in the plant kingdom and belong to the family of compounds known as polyphenols. Major sources of anthocyanins are blueberries, cherries, raspberries, strawberries, blackcurrants, purple grapes, and red wine. Anthocyanins are under basic research to understand if they have any biological role in humans.[9][10]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Ed Stover; Malli Aradhya; Judy Yang; John Bautista; Gerald S Dangl (March 1, 2010). "Investigations into the Origin of 'Norton' Grape using SSR Marker; In: Proceedings of Florida State Horticultural Society. 122:19-24". Agricultural Research Service, US Department of Agriculturre.
  2. ^ a b c d Stefanie Gans (September 26, 2019). "The Ultimate Guide To Understanding Virginia Wine". Northern Virginia Magazine. Retrieved April 6, 2022.
  3. ^ A. Garfunkel "Norton: Missouri's State Grape Harbors Juicy Little Secrets" Sauce Magazine May 31, 2004
  4. ^ "Missouri's state grape grows in stature and popularity – Columbia Missourian". Archived from the original on February 25, 2012. Retrieved November 25, 2009.
  5. ^ Rebecca and Clifford Ambers. "American Wine Society Journal" (PDF). Daniel Norborne Norton and the Origins of the Norton Grape. Archived from the original (PDF) on September 28, 2007. Retrieved September 6, 2006.
  6. ^ a b Paul L. Roberts. "The Wineman International". Norton, America's True Grape ...Whence, and Whither?. Retrieved March 6, 2006.
  7. ^ Hammers, Mia; Sapkota, Surya; Chen, Li-Ling; Hwang, Chin-Feng (April 27, 2017). "Constructing a genetic linkage map of Vitis aestivalis-derived "Norton" and its use in comparing Norton and Cynthiana". Molecular Breeding. 37 (5): 64. doi:10.1007/s11032-017-0644-6. ISSN 1380-3743. S2CID 37724086.
  8. ^ Muñoz-Espada AC, Wood KV, Bordelon B, Watkins BA (November 2004). "Anthocyanin quantification and radical scavenging capacity of Concord, Norton, and Marechal Foch grapes and wines". Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry. 52 (22): 6779–86. doi:10.1021/jf040087y. PMID 15506816.
  9. ^ "Flavonoids". Micronutrient Information Center. Linus Pauling Institute, Oregon State University, Corvallis. 2016. Retrieved October 24, 2016.
  10. ^ Mazza GJ (2007). "Anthocyanins and heart health" (PDF). Annali dell'Istituto Superiore di Sanità. 43 (4): 369–74. PMID 18209270. Archived from the original (PDF) on February 25, 2012. Retrieved November 4, 2009.

External links[edit]