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January 8, 2014 | 12:40 PM

Across the newsdesk this week was a press release from the Missouri Wine & Grape Board, declaring January as Norton Month:

The Missouri Wine and Grape Board declared January Norton Month.

In 2003, Norton was declared Missouri's official state grape. Although it originated around 1830 near Richmond, Va., Norton made its way to Missouri by way of German immigrants who settled in Hermann, Mo. It is believed to be one of the oldest grape varieties still commercially grown in the U.S. Norton continues to be praised for being a hardy, disease resistant and vigorous vine that can withstand Missouri's extreme temperatures. It is the most widely planted grape in the state, with 328 bearing acres according to a 2011 study.

Missouri wineries across the state plan to join in on the promotion of this great Missouri wine to boost awareness of the delicious fruit and wines the state has to offer. Try a Norton next time you are enjoying Missouri wine country, or pick up a bottle at your local wine retailer.

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