Vine By Design

Cabernet Sauvignon ] [ Cynthiana ]

Cynthiana- The American Wine Grape

Cynthiana Wine Grape

Cynthiana Grapes produce a rich, full-bodied red wine with a dry character similar in style to Cabernet Sauvignon but with more spice. In fact, it has been called 'The Cabernet of the Ozarks'.

Excellent resistance to most diseases that affect leaves and fruit. Vigorous plants bear small, flavorful grapes. Ripens in late August to early September, makes deeply pigmented wine.

Cynthiana grape vines to plant can be tough to find, but you can sometimes find them by searching on the Henry Fields website: Cynthiana Wine Grape Vines.

Few species of grapes, can make enough natural sugar, in most years, to be made into a traditional dry wine. Among the two dozen or so grape species native to North America, one has proven to be capable of producing award winning dry wines. That grape is called 'Norton' (scientific name: vitis aestivalis) and it was once a staple of American winemaking and vineyard planting. 

Also known as ‘Cynthiana’ (sin-thee-ana), Norton has shown promise as a wine grape but unlike most grape cultivars, it is difficult to propagate from cuttings. Studies have found that rooting can be improved by treating the cuttings with rooting hormone such as indole-3 butyric acid (IBA). 

Though it can be somewhat tough to grow, American wine makers were overjoyed to discover this new Wine Grape. It offered the winter-hardiness and strong disease resistance of native grapes, but without the overwhelming "grapey" aromas present in other American grapes. Its resistance to black rot made it ideal for vineyards attempting to grow organically. (Stone Bluff Cellars is an Oklahoma winery currently making a dry red Cynthiana wine)

In Arkansas, it's usually called Cynthiana and in Missouri it's most often called Norton. Whether you call it Cynthiana or Norton, the variety has been available for sale commercially since 1830.

The Wild Vine is the well-researched & fascinating story of Norton (aka Cynthiana), an American wine grape hybrid & the greatest wine you’ve never heard of.


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