After Pruning In Late Winter Or Early Spring
Where does one find Norton grapevines?
If one is looking to plant grapevines, they can start by checking out "Double A Vineyard" located in the New York area, unfortunately this year they are sold out. A person can also call around to other vineyards or surf the Internet.
The story behind Norton (Cynthiana) grapes...
The Norton grape vine, also known as Cynthiana, is one of the oldest Native American grape varietal. These vines grow fast and wild.
Story has it, a gentleman by the name of Dr. D.N. Norton from Richmond Virginia stumbled upon the grapevines growing wild along the riverbank and created the hybrid.
Once upon a time, some Norton grape vines were sent to Thomas Jefferson because of his love for wine. He planted the them but because the Norton vines were ignored, the plants didn't produce well. His primary interest was in French grapes to make wine.
Then, on Long Island, a nursery guy finally cultivated these vines. They make a good high quality table wine. The wine won an International wine contest back in the 1800's. The Norton grape claimed the prestigious award of being the best, topping even the best French wines.
Most grape varieties root easily but the Norton is very difficult to produce from woody cuttings. However, because the Norton is acclimated to America it resists disease and grows vigorously.
Now it seems that half of the grapes used for winemaking in Missouri are of this variety. Norton / Cynthiana is considered to be the "Cabernet of the Ozarks." This wonderful plant is growing in abundance in Virginia but also Pennsylvania and has been making its way into Iowa.
Norton (Cynthiana) makes a wine with a dark ruby tint, distinctive aroma and compelling flavor.
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Nearowood Winery makes Storybook wine.
The story behind the Storybook wines.
In Iowa at Nearwood Winery; once this magnificent Norton grape went through its process of harvesting, destemming, crushing and fermentation, it was time for pressing. There is longer skin contact for the red grapes to extract color, tannins and structure so they are not pressed until after fermentation. The pH levels and sugar content were tested and to determine the balance, dryness and sweetness before it was bottled. The next step was coming up with a name for the wine.
At Nearwood Winery, they have a group of writers that meet every Thursday night. The majority of the writers are published authors. The group is called the Marion County Writer’s Workshop.
Mike Van Natta, the owner of the Winery was about to release his first published novel around the same time as releasing their first batch of Norton wine in 2012. His business partner suggested naming the wine after his book, Leo’s Birds. They decided to place his book cover on the back side of the bottle. Knowing they had two more authors coming up after him, his partner also suggested having a series of Norton wines called Storybook. Mike went to work on the labels and then submitted them to the Government for approval.
Leo’s Birds flew off the shelves the first year. The next season of Storybook wines honored the author Stephen Brayton for one of his novels called, Alpha and Helen Boertje for her book, When One Room Fit All, which is about country schools. Marion County Writer’s Workshop has two more novelists, whose labels the winery will delightfully display. Too Much Left Unsaid by Lee Collins and A Case of Hearts by Kathryn Daugherty will be honored on the winery's 2013 Norton harvest, scheduled to be released in 2014. Storybook Dry and Storybook Sweet wines live on from one book to another.
Nearwood Winery Tasting Room
The pruning contest, now women are allowed to compete.
- Napa pruning competition opens to women
After 12 years, women were allowed to participate in "Napa Valley Grape Growers' Pruning Competition."