Many wine enthusiasts are wondering about the he 2011 Honorary Jefferson Cup Invitational Wine Competition Award that went to “2008 My Three Sons Norton” from Missouri. We can report that the wine was not produced by the late actor Fred MacMurray and has nothing to do with the 60’s television show of the same name, as a Google search would indicate. So exactly what is the “My Three Sons” that won such a prestigious award in a blind tasting by some of the country’s most discriminating palates?
It turns out that My Three Sons is produced by Gomer’s of Missouri, a wine and spirits store with four locations in metro Kansas City. More amazingly, the Norton vines from which the award-winning wine was made were grown on the side of a Gomer’s retail store in a commercial shopping center. “We have three distinct vineyard sites at our retail locations,” said Gomer’s owner Tom Stacey. “One of the sites has 18 vines and we call it “Sonic View” because it’s next to the Sonic fast food restaurant. ” According to Stacey, growing vines in a strip mall has its advantages, like automated sprinklers and no grape eating deer.
While Gomer’s Norton vines have a somewhat ignominious current location, they were obtained by Stacey from one of the oldest and best known Norton makers in Missouri; Adam Puchta Winery near Hermann. Adam Puchta Winery also makes an award-winning Norton and has been continuously operated by the same family since 1855.
The Jefferson Cup winning My Three Sons Norton was made by Jim Ball, a winemaker from Braymer, Missouri who was selected by Stacey. Total production was 12 cases and the wine was aged in a single 28 gallon oak barrel. My Three Sons is not available for sale because Gomer’s does not have a winery license. That may change according to Stacey. “We may expand into commercial wine production in the future, but we’ll need to find other locations besides the retail stores to grow grapes,” he said.
As for Stacey’s reaction when he learned his Norton was a 2011 Jefferson Cup Winner: “I was blown away by the honor.” (According to Master Sommelier Doug Frost, the Director of the Jefferson Cup, the judges do not know the origins of any of the 600 wines entered in the competition and all wines are tasted blind.)
And who are the “Three Sons” on the label? According to Stacey, the 2008 Norton is named for his son John and his two basset hounds Elmo and McClelland.