October 15 , 2019 – Merlot has overcome the Sideways effect and is back with a vengeance. The main character in the 2004 hit movie, Miles, played by Paul Giamatti despised Merlot, vehemently threatening to leave a dinner date if anyone ordered Merlot. His passion was Pinot Noir which immediately became the new flavor du jour and its sales skyrocketed. The trashing of Merlot by Miles contributed to 10,000 acres of Merlot being pulled in California.
Some of the blame for Merlot tanking belongs to the vintners who rushed to plant the varietal to take advantage of its growing popularity in the early 1990s. Not everyone was enamored of big, tannic Cabernet Sauvignons and found Merlot softer, velvety and more approachable. Unfortunately, a lot of California Merlot was not very good. You might say Sideways was the coup de grâce.
Fifteen years later with good wine and good marketing Merlot has resumed its role as a much-loved grape and is now the third leading red varietal after Cabernet Sauvignon and Red Blends in the U.S.A. Increased sales and plantings were well on their way by 2013 when #MerlotMe started as a way to rally wine lovers to celebrate the grape. What originated as a social media event using the hashtag #MerlotMe has evolved into a multi-channel event that encompasses participation by retailers, restaurants and consumers at home.
October is International Merlot Month leading up to #InternationalMerlotDay on November 7. Last year, #MerlotMe reached almost 20 million wine drinkers around the world including New Zealand, Australia, Chile, Argentina and France.
Speaking of France, Merlot, which means “little blackbird” in French, hails from Bordeaux. Cabernet Franc is its father and Magdeleine Noire des Charents is the mother. It has notable half-siblings – Cabernet Sauvignon, Carménère and Malbec. It is also the grape used to make one of the most expensive and sought after wines in the world – Chateau Pétrus – which sells or $1,000 a bottle or more.
How to #MerlotMe
#MerlotMe unites passionate wine lovers to celebrate this lavishly textured, amazingly versatile red grape. Wine producers and consumers across the globe will celebrate Merlot online during October with #MerlotMe, sharing wines while toasting and tasting at events, in wine stores, restaurants, and homes everywhere.
Get your hands on a bottle of Merlot and share online with #MerlotMe.
Visit com for the latest on where to taste, recipes, and follow participating wineries for Merlot news all month long.
Visit your favorite winery and mention #MerlotMe for special offers and tastings.
Participating wineries, restaurants and retailers will feature #MerlotMe inspired tasting flights; food bloggers are posting Merlot-paired recipes. Winery tasting rooms in California, Washington and beyond are featuring special tasting flights, reserve and library pours and special pricing in honor of Merlot Month.
Then get ready for #InternationalMerlotDay on November 7!