MISSOURI STATE SYMBOLS
Norton/Cynthiana Grape (Vitis aestivalis)
In 2003, the Norton grape, or Cynthiana grape, was adopted as Missouri’s official state grape. This adaptable, self-pollinating variety has been cultivated in Missouri for nearly two centuries and is North America’s oldest grape variety commercially grown today. Norton has long been prized by Missouri vintners for its hardy growth and intense flavor. The grapes are used to produce lush, dry, premium red wines of world-class quality.
According to the USDA’s 2017 Agricultural Statistics Annual Bulletin, Missouri is ranked 10th in tons of grapes harvested per year (6,100 tons). There are roughly 140 active wineries in the state today, and in 2012 there were 425 farms producing grapes. This is a notable change from Missouri’s wine production before American Prohibition (1920-1933). In 1909, the U.S. Census Bureau’s agricultural survey reported that Missouri produced 245,656 gallons of wine and grape juice from 5,413 farms in the state. At the time, this made Missouri the fifth largest wine producer in the nation after California, New York, Ohio and Illinois.
Revised Statutes of Missouri (RSMo)
§10.160. State grape. – The Norton/Cynthiana grape, designated as Vitis aestivalis, is hereby selected for, and shall be known as, the official state grape of the state of Missouri. (L. 2003 S.B. 651)
approved 11 July 2003
effective 28 August 2003
Click on an image below to enlarge and read a caption. This will open a new window in the Missouri State Symbols Flickr album.
Visit the USDA’s Census of Agriculture Historical Archive online here.
View Missouri Department of Agriculture annual reports online through Missouri Digital Heritage here.
The Department of Agriculture State Documents Collection at the Archives lists several wine- and grape-related publications.
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