Meritage Alliance
What's happening
  • The Meritage Alliance now has more than 350 members!  We reached the milestone on July 14, 2014, when Beauregard Vineyards and Little Washington Winery & Vineyards joined.
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New Members
  • Sola Winery
  • Steele Canyon Cellars
  • Beauregard Vineyards
  • Little Washington Winery & Vineyards
  • Harvest Ridge Winery
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25 Years of Meritage
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FAQs


What is a Meritage wine?

Meritage wines are handcrafted red or white wines blended from the "noble" Bordeaux grape varieties. A Meritage wine is considered to be the very best of the vintage.

Which grape varieties are allowed?

The red "noble" Bordeaux varieties are Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Malbec, Petit Verdot and the rarer St. Macaire, Gros Verdot and Carmenère.

The white "noble" Bordeaux varieties and Sauvignon Blanc, Sémillon and Muscadelle du Bordelais.

If a wine has any other grape variety as part of the blend, does it qualify as a Meritage?

No. Meritage wines are made solely from the approved Bordeaux varieties listed above. If any other wine makes up part of the blend, the wine is not a Meritage.

How do you pronounce Meritage?

Meritage rhymes with "heritage".

Where did the word Meritage come from?

Meritage is an invented word that combines "merit" and "heritage," and rhymes with the latter. It reflects the outstanding quality of the grapes and the centuries-old French tradition of blending wines.

What do you have to do in order to use Meritage on a wine label?

To obtain a license to use the Meritage name, the wine must be a blend of at least two of the traditional red or white Bordeaux grape varieties. No single variety can make up more than 90% of the blend. Once this criteria is met, you can download a membership application (link) and questionnaire (link) and send it to the address listed on the agreement.

Why Meritage?

Most wines are varietal wines, named after the grape variety that comprises at least 75% of that wine. For example, a "Cabernet Sauvignon" labeled as such must be made from 75%-100% Cabernet Sauvignon grapes. Many winemakers, however, believe the 76% varietal requirement does not necessarily result in the highest quality wine. And the generic name for wines with les than 75% of a grape varietal -- "table wine" -- does not convey quality.

In 1988, a group of American vintners established a new wine category, Meritage, to help consumers identify wines that represent the highest form of the winemaker's art -- blending -- and to distinguish these wines from so-called "table wines". To legally use the word Meritage on a wine label, a winery must be a member of The Meritage Alliance, which owns the trademark.

Don't many wineries use fanciful names rather than "Meritage"?

Yes, some wineries producing high quality Bordeaux blends use proprietary names in addition to, or instead of, Meritage.