Definition - What does Norton mean?
The Norton grape is known as the oldest native grape in the US. It is believed to be derived from Vitis aestivalis and is cultivated in the Midwest and Mid-Atlantic states.
Norton was purveyed by Dr. Daniel Norton in the 19th century, in Virginia. He combined grapes named Bland and Cynthiana to create a grape which was more suitable for wine compared to native vines which created "foxy" wines.
WineFrog explains Norton
The Norton grape is mainly planted in warmer climates in the US and is considered the cornerstone of Missouri's wine industry.
The grape was made commercially viable in 1830 and was widely used for wine production in the eastern and mid-western states. Compared to the native Vitis labrusca vines, the Norton grape offered more sophistication for winemaking.
In 1873, a wine from Hermann, Missouri won a gold medal in the Vienna World Exposition. It was a grape whose wines were to rival the best wines of Europe. Unfortunately, Prohibition ended the wine industry in the US and many vines were pulled and never recovered. Today, it is growing once again in Missouri, but it has yet to reach the popularity that it once had.