In 1988, a group of American vintners formed The Meritage
Association (now The Meritage Alliance) to identify and promote
handcrafted wines blended from the traditional "noble" Bordeaux
Historically, most New World wines are labeled after the grape
variety that comprises at least 75% of that wine. A label
with "Cabernet Sauvignon," for example, indicates that the wine is
made from a minimum of 75% Cabernet Sauvignon grapes.
Many winemakers, however, believe the varietal requirements do
not necessarily result in the highest quality wine. The
pioneers in this movement created the term "Meritage" to identify
wines that represent the highest form of the winemaker's art -
blending - and distinguish these wines from the more generic
moniker, "red table wine."
"Meritage," pronounced like "heritage," was selected from more
than 6,000 entries in an international contest to name the new wine
category. Meritage is an invented word that combines "merit"
and "heritage" - reflecting the quality of the grapes and the
ancient art of blending wine.
Over the years, the word "Meritage" has been widely adopted into
the English lexicon. Housing developments, apartments,
hotels, restaurants, financial firms and even car washes use
"Meritage" in their names, and it is often used to describe a
mixture of several things or something of unusually high