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This branded wine designation was introduced in California in 1988 for Bordeaux-style wines. Winemakers from Sonoma County and the Napa Valley founded the Meritage Association because they wanted to create a quality standard equivalent to the varietals declared by the BATF. The name was determined by a competition and is an artificial word made up of "merit" and "heritage". Today, the approximately 400 member wineries are licensed by the Meritage Alliance (name since 2009). The designation is now also used outside of California.

Meritage - Logo und Etikett Kendall-Jackson

A "Red Meritage" must be blended from at least two of the varieties Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Malbec (Cot), Petit Verdot, Saint-Macaire, Gros Verdot or Carmenère, a "White Meritage" from at least two of the varieties Sauvignon Blanc, Sémillon or Muscadelle du Bordelais (Malvasia Aromatica di Parma). The proportion of one variety may not exceed 90%. The Meritage Alliance recommends that only the best Meritage be labelled as such and that production be limited to a maximum of 25,000 cases. There are no regulations regarding vinification. See also under Generic.

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