In 1989, 30 wineries agreed to use the name to precisely define a certain style of wine they were making. At the time, traditional blends from Europe were being adopted all over California. Many were simply called “proprietary blends” before the new name was adopted. The term Meritage was introduced to indicate high quality Bordeaux blend.
A wine labeled Meritage must be the winery’s most expensive type of that wine style and production cannot exceed 25,000 cases. There are currently over 100 wineries that are members of the Meritage Association.
A red Meritage is produced from a blend of at least two of the following varietals: Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot, Malbec, St. Macaire, Gros Verdot and Carmenere. No one grape can account for more than 90% of the blend.
A wine can be called white Meritage if it is a blend of at least two of the following varietals: Sauvignon Blanc, Semillon and Muscadelle. No one grape can account for more than 90% of the blend.