The Norton Grape

Posted by / Tuesday, September 28th, 2010

Norton Grape

(Image: Missouri Wine Country)

The Norton grape is truly Virginia’s grape.  It was first introduced in 1820 by Dr. Daniel Norborne Norton in Richmond, Virginia.  Around 1830, the Norton grape was introduced commercially and soon started to dominate wine production.  This deep blue-purple grape was well known before prohibition and was even hailed as producing “the best red wine of all nations” at a worldwide competition in Vienna around 1873.

During prohibition, many vineyards were torn up and concord grapes were planted and used to make grapes for jellies and jams.  Rebuilding vineyards on the east coast after prohibition was a slow process and many plants were lost.

Health-wise, the Norton grape is at the top.  It has a high content of anthocyanins which gives it more significant antioxidant and antimicrobial properties than other grapes.  Between the taste, the history, and the health factor, Norton wines have increasingly become highly valued.

The crystal wine glass company Riedel even introduced a special glass for Norton Wines in 2009.

Norton Riedel glass

(Image: Good Life Eats)

Today, Chrysalis Vineyards in Middleburg has 69 acres of the Norton Grape which is the largest planting of Norton in the world.  My favorite wine at Chrysalis is Sarah’s Patio Red which contains 100% Norton grapes. 

Sarah's Patio Red

(Image: My Vine Spot)

This weekend, the 10th Annual Norton Wines & Bluegrass Festival will take place on October 3rd & 4th.  The festival will be held at Chrysalis Vineyards in Middleburg and will be from 10am-6pm each day.  At the festival, you can enjoy bluegrass music, take a vineyard tour, and taste Sarah’s Patio Red so you can see what all the fuss is about.  Once you get a taste of the Norton grape, it will be hard to find another to compare.

Chrysalis Vineyards

23876 Champe Ford Road

Middleburg, VA 20117


-Liz Stevenson

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One Response

Danene Says:

LOVE this glass, what a blast we had developing with Georg Riedel! The Missouri wine industry was very lucky to have such a great opportunity! Glad you are enjoying in Virginia! Chryalis wine is great, you should try the Stone Hill Cross J Norton, it’s delish! Cheers!

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