In 1895, the British engineer Edmund James Palmer Norton, one of the experts employed to oversee the building of the trans-Andean railway line in Mendoza, decided to make a new life for himself by settling in the foothills of those selfsame mountains.
Entranced by Mendoza’s natural beauty, he unwittingly became a pioneer of viticulture in Perdriel, one of the most important Malbec regions in Luján de Cuyo, turning virgin land into the region’s first vineyard by planting high quality French vines.
1919, saw him expand his operation to build the first winery in Perdriel, a key moment in the history of the Argentinian wine industry. In time, the quality of the wines produced there would make Norton one of the most famous and prestigious brands of New World wine.
From Argentina to the world
During its first few decades, Bodega Norton established itself as the Argentinian’s favourite producer of both white and red wines. The national success was followed by overseas expansion. By the mid-20th century Bodega Norton wines were being consumed in several countries , anticipating the company’s future as a full-blown exporter. In 1972, they became the first winery to export a single-varietal Malbec to the USA.
In 1989, Bodega Norton was acquired by the Austrian businessman Gernot Langes-Swarovski who had also been seduced by the Mendozan landscape and the potential of its wines. Under the direction of Michael Halstrick, Langes-Swarovski’s son, the winery expanded further, eventually becoming one of Argentina’s leading exporters of quality wine.
‘The acquisition of Bodega Norton wasn’t an investment made on a whim: there was a lot of passion behind it, perhaps as much as for the crystal that made the family fortune,’ says Halstrick. ‘Argentinian wine has a soul. The wines have good fruit but also elegance, which is why they’re up there with the world’s best. As a country we have our own style and that makes the difference.’
Today, wines from Bodega Norton are enjoyed in more than 70 countries while the doors to their Perdriel winery are open to wine lovers seeking a world of experiences. They run an exclusive oeno-tourism programme as well as their La Vid restaurant, a must-visit venue for those visiting Mendoza.
Identity and innovation
Many know Bodega Norton for the expertise of its oenological team – which is currently led by the renowned winemaker David Bonomi – and for its benchmark Malbecs. But the Norton team are also keen lovers of fine wines and are applying their passion through innovative concepts that are reaffirming the winery’s leading place.
Since David Bonomi took the reins at the winery, they have expanded their horizons to the Uco Valley, exploring new vineyards and terroirs, as well as varieties that have never before been vinified in Argentina.
Thus was born one of their most striking new labels: Finca La Colonia Grüner Veltliner, a white wine with Austrian roots and a Mendozan identity, fruit of the winery’s ongoing research and development programme.
At the same time, David Bonomi presented the first Bodega Norton wines made with grapes from the Uco Valley: Norton ALTURA – a range that includes a White Blend (Sauvignon Blanc, Semillón and Grüner Veltliner), a Pinot Noir, a Malbec and a Cabernet Franc – and Norton Lote Negro, a refined, sophisticated red blend of Malbec and Cabernet Franc.