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
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.
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.