SOURCE: The Meritage Association

September 25, 2006 08:00 ET

Meritage Wines Take Center Stage in Italian Bordeaux-Style Tasting

YOUNTVILLE, CA -- (MARKET WIRE) -- September 25, 2006 -- For the first time since the term Meritage was trademarked eighteen years ago, a major European wine tasting will conduct a special session focusing on the best Bordeaux-style blends that carry the Meritage name.

Julie Weinstock, chairman of the Meritage Association, which owns the Meritage trademark, will travel to Vicenza, Italy, to make a presentation about Meritage wines at a tasting of more than 250 of the world's top Bordeaux-style blends, organized by Italian wine journalists. The two-day tasting, to be held October 14 and 15, is heralded as the most famous event in Italy devoted to Bordeaux-style wines.

"This is a tremendous endorsement for Meritage, as it's the first time the European wine community has officially embraced the term," said Weinstock, who is also president of Cosentino Signature Wineries -- the very first winery to use Meritage on a wine label.

Nineteen wineries from the United States, Canada and Mexico will participate in the tasting. They are Cosentino, St. Supery, Casa Nuestra, Rodney Strong, Ironstone, Boeger, Thomas Fogarty, Stuart Cellars, Malibu Vineyards, Trentadue and Murrieta's Well (all from California); Natalie's Estate (Oregon); Wallace Winery (Iowa); Castello di Borghese and Casa Larga (New York); Childress Vineyards (North Carolina); Willmon Vineyards (New Mexico); Jackson Triggs Winery (Canada) and Bodegas San Rafael (Mexico).

The Meritage Association was founded in 1988 by a small group of California vintners who sought to elevate American wines blended in the tradition of Bordeaux by inventing a unique and descriptive term to separate these wines from the more common monikers -- red or white table wine. They conducted an international contest and selected Meritage from more than 6,000 entries.

"It's a combination of the words 'merit' and 'heritage,'" Weinstock explained. "Merit for the outstanding quality of the grapes and heritage for the age-old French tradition of blending wine." The word rhymes with heritage.

As blended wines grow in popularity, so has the term Meritage. Today, more than 160 wineries in the United States, Canada, Mexico, Israel and Australia are members of the Meritage Association and use the term on their labels.

Contact Information

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    Jane Hodges Young
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