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Norton/cynthiana Grapes


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#1 Charlie

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Posted 26 March 2006 - 07:40 PM

I have been growing Cynthiana grapes for several years hoping to do as well as the wineries in Missouri who do such a great job with this grape. However, I have been disappointed so far. Are there any secrets to working with this grape?

#2 Vinomaker

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Posted 26 March 2006 - 08:00 PM

QUOTE (Charlie @ Mar 26 2006, 08:12 PM)
I have been growing Cynthiana grapes for several years hoping to do as well as the wineries in Missouri who do such a great job with this grape.  However, I have been disappointed so far.  Are there any secrets to working with this grape?

Charlie,

Welcome to the forum.
I don't grow Norton, however the local Kentucky vineyard where I buy my Norton lets them hang and hang and hang until around mid October. They are very ripe, the flavors are great, and the acids have dropped some, and they make excellent wine. The wine is very dark and rich. The winemaker where I get the grapes says the key is picking very late.
I would guess the growing area in Missouri wine country would be similar to our area.

Goodluck,

Vinomaker

#3 kyjake

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Posted 26 March 2006 - 11:24 PM

QUOTE (Vinomaker @ Mar 26 2006, 09:32 PM)
Charlie,

Welcome to the forum.
I don't grow Norton, however the local Kentucky vineyard where I buy my Norton lets them hang and hang and hang until around mid October. They are very ripe, the flavors are great, and the acids have dropped some, and they make excellent wine. The wine is very dark and rich. The winemaker where I get the grapes says the key is picking very late.
I would guess the growing area in Missouri wine country would be similar to our area.

Goodluck,

Vinomaker


Where do you get yours and what orhers do they offer?

#4 Vinmaker

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Posted 27 March 2006 - 06:21 AM

CHarlie,

Can you elaborate on the faults? Was the wine too watery? Too tart? Bitter?

Some of these faults you may be able to correct in the winemaking process.

Happily Winemaking.

Waiting for the 2013 Harvest!


#5 RTL

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Posted 27 March 2006 - 09:46 AM

Vinomaker,

Interesting post. I am planning a backyard 1/4 acre vineyard and have been considering the Norton grape, in part because I'm located in Piedmont SC just on the edge of vinifera areas. The long hang time approach makes sense, particularly the acid reduction aspect for this grape. Other wineries do some blending of bourdeaux grapes to reduce acid levels. Any experiences to share with making this wine?

Charlie,

Where are you growing your grapes?

Thanks for any input,

Rick

#6 Vinomaker

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Posted 27 March 2006 - 12:36 PM

QUOTE (kyjake @ Mar 26 2006, 11:56 PM)
Where do you get yours and what orhers do they offer?

I have been getting my grapes from Lovers Leap Vineyards in Lawrenceburg, KY. They have several acres of Norton. They have about 25 acres of grapes total, including Cab Sauv, Cab Franc, Chardonnay, Riesling, and many French Hybrids.
They use most of the grapes for their own wine sold at the winery.

Last fall I got about 125 lbs of Norton from the Univ of KY grown at the research farm in Prinston, KY. The wine from those grapes is turning out great. They were picked near the end of September, however I would think western KY is several degrees warmer than Lawrenceburg and therefore ripen more quickly. Since U of K has hired an onologist, my grape source there is now gone.

From my experiences, Norton blends very well with Cab Sauv, Cab Franc, and Merlot. Also the wine will definitely benefit from oak. It can handle a small barrel or quality oak chips.

The Lovers Leap 2004 Norton blended with 20% Cab Sauv and 20% Merlot won the best of show dry at the TVOS amateur wine competition last month. Vinomaker

#7 smurfe

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Posted 27 March 2006 - 03:13 PM

I to am interested in this post. I have an acre I was planning of planting in Norton's. I live in South Louisiana and we have a vineyard local that has grown them with success. I have heard they are tough to grow though and very late to ripen.

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#8 Vinomaker

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Posted 27 March 2006 - 03:42 PM

QUOTE (smurfe @ Mar 27 2006, 03:45 PM)
I to am interested in this post. I have an acre I was planning of planting in Norton's. I live in South Louisiana and we have a vineyard local that has grown them with success. I have heard they are tough to grow though and very late to ripen.

Smurfe  smile.gif

Smurfe,
I don't grow Norton, however I know they are tough to get started from cuttings and anytime you have a late ripening grape, you have to fight the bugs, bees, birds and diseases for a longer time. I know the U of K research guys had a heck of a time getting their first Norton crop.
Maybe someone currently growing Norton can chime in with their experiences.
Didn't Winemaker Magazine have a feature about Norton awhile back?

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#9 Charlie

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Posted 28 March 2006 - 11:40 AM

This is Charlie again. I'm growing Cynthiana vines in South Texas near San Antonio. I have about 6 vines grafted to native rootstocks. Cynthiana does not grow well own-rooted here. The wine has turned out very acidic.

I like the suggestion to let the clusters hang on the vine longer. Even though I really get into a bird problem then.

The grapes usually max out at about 20 degrees Brix. With TA at 1.1 g/l. Ph at 3.4.

My soil is high PH about 7.5 with clay loam and gravel after about 2 feet. So drainage is good.

I'm still wondering what the commercial wineries do in MO?

Charlie

#10 RTL

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Posted 28 March 2006 - 02:58 PM

I have read that the growers in Missouri have had some success in lowering acidity with canopy management practices designed to get more direct sun exposure to the clusters. I have seen them growing @ Horton Winery near Charlottesville, Virginina where they produce a 'Horton Norton' and a nice port with the grape. Mr. Horton says they don't do anything different in the vineyard but do adjust the acid levels in winemaking and blend with 10 - 15% vinifera. I did not discuss brix levels or hang times.

My interest in the grape is that it is an American hierloom variety (which I think is neat) that is less susceptible to disease and makes a full and rich wine.

Thanks for the posts.

Rick

#11 Vinomaker

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Posted 28 March 2006 - 03:27 PM

QUOTE (Charlie @ Mar 28 2006, 12:12 PM)
The grapes usually max out at about 20 degrees Brix.  With TA at 1.1 g/l.    Ph at 3.4. 

Charlie,

The grapes I get locally have a brix of about 24. I'm not sure about the acids. I know they drop a lot of tartaric when I cold stabalize.
Birds are a real problem around here also. I have to net all of my vines if I want any grapes to harvest.

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#12 greenbean

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Posted 02 April 2006 - 07:46 PM

The University of Arkansas suggest growing them on a Genneva Double Trealesing
System here. Also don't rush it, oak then bulk age for atleast years.

Chris

#13 Ray Samulis

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Posted 14 April 2006 - 10:33 AM

QUOTE (Charlie @ Mar 26 2006, 09:12 PM)
I have been growing Cynthiana grapes for several years hoping to do as well as the wineries in Missouri who do such a great job with this grape.  However, I have been disappointed so far.  Are there any secrets to working with this grape?



Charlie,

Valanzano Winery here in New Jersey has won the "Governor's Cup" for the Best Wine in NJ for the past two years with Cynthiana so it has very good potential.

Thanks,
Ray

#14 jbo_c

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Posted 15 April 2006 - 01:25 PM

I have 16 Cynthiana vines I'll be planting shortly on a small lot in south Georgia. No clue what I'm doing, but I'm going to give it a shot.

I've never even tasted Cynthiana. I too like the idea of it being an heirloom variety. Also, I can't grow vinifera and have read several articles that indicate that it is the only native variety that can compete.

I'll post my successes/challenges as I go.

Jbo




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