Meritage, pronounced like heritage, first appeared in the late 1980s after a group of American vintners joined forces and formed The Meritage Association- now The Meritage Alliance- in order to create a name for quality American wines blended in the tradition of Bordeaux.
Meritage combines “merit,” reflecting the quality of the grapes, with “heritage,” which recognizes the centuries-old tradition of blending, long considered to be the highest form of the winemaker’s art. The word was selected from more than 6,000 entries in an international contest.
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 wines are provocative red or white wines crafted solely from specific “noble” Bordeaux grape varieties and are considered to be the very best wines of the vintage.
Meritage wines are growing in popularity and are currently the second fastest growing wine category in the industry. They are highly regarded for their aging potential, yet are completely approachable in their youth.
Many Meritage wines have proprietary names in addition to, or rather than, Meritage. In order to obtain a license and use the term Meritage on a label, a wine must meet certain criteria.