At the 1873 Vienna World Exposition, a Norton wine from the Hermann, Missouri, region was named "Best Red Wine of All Nations," according to one historical record. (Can't confirm. I didn't catch that particular Expo.)
The same year as the Expo, one well-known wine critic of the time (I won't mention his name to prevent embarrassment to his grandkids) definitively declared that Missouri's Norton grape will rival the best Europe had to offer. (Of course, that was about the same time the Phylloxera louse wiped out Europe's vineyards.)
On the hill overlooking Hermann, Stone Hill Winery had become the second-largest wine producer in the United States by the late 19th century. (Take that Santa Cruz Hills and Napa.)
Then in 1920, puff, prohibition deflated the Hermann Norton balloon.
Honestly, unless you are from Virginia, like my assistant Tamarah, had you ever heard of the Norton grape?
But wait till you hear about the health benefits of Dr. Norton grape in my next blog. Pinot noir and Cabernet sauvignon, pull over to the slow lane.
Above: View of Hermannm, Missouri, from one of Stone Hill Winery's vineyards. In the distance is St. George Catholic Church (build 1915) and the courthouse– the only such public building in America erected entirely with private funds.
Above: Hermann, which sits on a bluff above the Missouri River, seen from the deck of one of the historic Inn at Hermannhof suites. Sorry about the foreground trees being in the way. I couldn't get a permit to cut them down.