The Meritage Association, which is kicking off a year-long observance of its 20th anniversary, reached a new milestone in December when Revolution Winery in Ashburn, Va., signed on as the group’s 200th member.
The association also welcomed its first members from Massachusetts (Red Oak Winery in Middleton) and Arizona (Jerome Winery in Jerome) in 2007.
“I think it’s fitting that our 200th member is Revolution Winery,” said Julie Weinstock, Meritage Association chairman, “because when we started 20 years ago, Meritage truly was a revolutionary idea in the wine industry.”
The term Meritage was coined and the association founded in 1988 by a group of American vintners unhappy with varietal labeling regulations. Advanced by its members’ determined efforts over the past two decades, Meritage has been rewarded with growing recognition by consumers, trade and media as a better way to communicate the exceptional artistry of blended wines.
In the last two years alone, membership has increased 35% and the organization now has members in 20 U.S. states and five additional countries — Argentina, Australia, Canada, Israel and Mexico.
“Our membership can be proud of the work we’ve accomplished,” said Weinstock. “Meritage has become entrenched in wine lexicon, providing winemakers, retailers and consumers with a universal method of recognizing and describing complex, handcrafted blended wines of elegance and distinction.”
Founding vintner Mitch Cosentino, whose 1986 Meritage “The Poet” — a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot and Petit Verdot — was the first red Meritage wine released in the United States, agreed.
“Meritage is now a recognized category of top-tier wines, and I’m proud to have been a part of the process,” Cosentino said.