Description and characteristics of the Merlot grape variety

Description and characteristics of the Merlot grape variety

Merlot grape, the name is translated from French as blackbird. It is used mainly for the production of red wine. The historical homeland of this variety is the province of Bordeaux. It currently occupies more than half of all vineyards. The description and characteristics of this variety are presented below.

Description and characteristics of Merlot grapes

This variety has excellent grape characteristics and always gives a bountiful harvest. So, let's break it down into its components:

  1. Bushes... During the growing season, the stems reach high sizes relative to other varieties. And at the same time, they maintain a good yield. The vine is brown in color, the leaves are large, have five rays of dark green color, and with the arrival of autumn they become bronze.
  2. Flowers... Pollination of flowers occurs by insects, and self-pollination is also possible, since they are heterosexual.
  3. Berries... In the process of ripening, the bushes are covered with bunches of grapes, which have an average weight of 180 grams, a length of 16 cm, a width of 11 cm. The berries are dark blue, on top of them lies a coating that serves as protection for them. The content of the berry is a dense, watery substrate. The thin skin has a low tannin content, thanks to which the wine has a mild taste.
  4. Taste qualities. Merlot grapes are technical varieties; they are practically never used for food. The berry is characterized by a sugar content of about twenty percent. It depends on the duration of ripening and the amount of solar energy received. Also, the fruits contain acid in the amount of 7 g / l. This grape is distinguished by the taste of fruits, aroma of herbs. You can taste currants, cherries, blueberries, caramel, chocolate, black pepper. In the process of maturation and storage of wine, additional flavors appear. The presence of certain flavors is determined by the quality of the soil, sandstones bring softer aromas, and limestone makes the wine strong and tart.


The harvest is made depending on the type of wine. So for table wines ripening period - one hundred fifty three days, dessert wine - one hundred and sixty-five days.

Disease and environmental resistance of the variety

The stems resist mildew well and also moderately withstand rot. The fruits are generally not attractive to birds and insects. Grapes grow in a fairly high temperature corridor, withstanding frosts up to twenty degrees. The climate can be either arid or humid.

Wine making

The fruits of this vine are used to make high-quality, inexpensive and pleasant wines. The process of growing and preparing wines does not require specific skills and is accessible even to a beginner. This wine is perfect for both meat and vegetable dishes. It will contribute to the normalization of blood pressure and the functioning of the gastrointestinal tract. So, how to make red dry wine from Merlot grapes:

  1. The pulp container is stored indoors, in which the temperature is maintained in the range from eighteen to twenty-three degrees above zero.
  1. After we are you squeezed and drained the pulp, it turned out to be pure tinsel, which will continue to ferment.
  2. Straining the tinsel and pour it into a glass container.
  3. Then these containers install in a cool room, inaccessible to the sun's rays, and the ripening process begins.
  4. Before drinking, this wine should be cool to 16 degrees and it should be poured into glasses made of transparent material.
  5. Merlot grape wine should not be consumed by those who are allergic to its components.... You should also limit the intake of patients with diabetes mellitus, as it contains a large amount of sugar.

Planting and grooming activities

This variety is grown both in specialized farms and in a garden plot. It grows very quickly, does not occupy much territory and is not capricious. You can start harvesting the fruit as early as the third year after the rooting of the vine. It will bear fruit for at least ten years. The advantages of Merlot include:

  1. It takes root easily and not capricious in the choice of soil.
  2. Okay tolerates the cold.
  3. Fruit ripen within five or six months.
  4. It grows both in damp and in dry soil.
  5. Gives abundant harvest.
  6. Not affected by many grape diseases.
  7. Great for making delicious and inexpensive wines.

Now let's look at the cons, they also exist:

  1. Possibly noticeable reduction in berry size.
  2. Strong susceptible to mold.
  3. Infected with a disease such as powdery mildew.
  4. To some extent depends on weather conditions.

Preparatory work

Before planting grapes, the following points should be considered:

  • Choose the most sunny placethen the harvest will be better.
  • Also, the site should be protected from wind... A more attractive location will be the south side of the buildings.
  • Merlot doesn't like acidic soil.
  • The soil pre-prepared, the roots of plants and weeds are removed.
  • There should be no nearby plants from nightshade family.
  • Planting planting material best in spring, but you can also in the fall.

How to root seedlings?

This procedure consists of several stages:

  1. In the beginning it is necessary form a pit seventy centimeters wide and the same depth.
  2. To the bottom layer spreading gravel about twelve centimeters.
  3. Install drainage system using plastic pipes that are installed along the edges of the pit. Their top opening is twelve centimeters above the soil level.
  4. On a layer of gravel we lay black soil, add a small amount of fertilizer to humus and sprinkle it all with wood ash, mix and level. Then we spread a layer of soil.
  5. We repeat this procedure again and we water everything, about thirty centimeters should be missing to the top layer of the pit.
  6. Thereafter we install seedlings, orienting the buds in the north direction, and the base of the root in the south.
  7. We fill the hole earth.

When cold weather sets in, the planted processes are covered with polyethylene, while they themselves can be protected with plastic containers.

If a lot of seedlings are planted, we adhere to a distance of two hundred centimeters, from one row to another four hundred centimeters, then in this case you can achieve good ventilation.

You can also use grape cuttings for planting, and the planting procedure is no different. When caring for a vineyard, you should water, loosen the soil and fight diseases. Watering is best done after sunset, the soil is cultivated as it compresses.

When forming a bush, the seedling is pruned, leaving the strongest vine, it must be attached to the support. During the summer, it will be good to cut off the branches that thicken the bushes, this contributes to good ventilation and the prevention of the appearance of fungi and mold. Periodically, it should be treated with a fungicide, so the appearance of powdery mildew can be prevented. It is important to protect the vineyard from late frosts as they can destroy the fruit.

Currently, there are several varieties of Merlot grapes, which are adapted to development in different climatic zones, while the wine differs in different tastes, but has a unique aroma that distinguishes it from other wines.

The technical variety has an average ripening period, the bushes are characterized by fast and uniform growth.

Description and characteristics

Young foliage on the vine has a slight bronze tint, the crown is painted in a pinkish tint. The average length of the brush is 18 cm, the width is from 8 to 12 cm. Each of them weighs almost 150 g. The brushes of medium density are loose and often winged.

Rounded berries, dark blue or black. The skin on the fruit is firm with a waxy coating. The berries are juicy, the juice is not colored. The acidity level is 8.8 g / l, sugar is 18%.

For your information! In the tasting tests, the alcohol from the Merlot was rated at 8.5 points.

Advantages and disadvantages

In the description, the pluses of grapes include:

  • good taste of alcoholic beverages
  • fast ripening of fruits
  • good adaptation to different climatic conditions
  • absence of diseases during transplants
  • easy rooting
  • immune to mildew.

Merlot grapes also have disadvantages: with poor care, they are prone to the development of small berries (peas), without preventive treatment they are affected by powdery mildew and powdery mildew.

Scope of application of the technical grade

It is used in the manufacture of alcoholic beverages. Alcohol from Merlot has received well-deserved popularity and positive characteristics for an inexpensive final price and high quality, characteristic taste.

Growing areas

The variety is recommended for growing in:

For your information! It was brought to the territory of Russia at the beginning of the 19th century, first planted in the Nikitsky Botanical Garden.


The "Merlot" grape variety has good characteristics in almost all directions. With proper care, anyone can get a decent harvest.

This vine has a high vigor, but a fairly moderate speed. Despite this, the yield remains consistently high. The stems are brown, darker at the ground and at the nodes. The leaves are medium to large and have a pronounced division into 5 separate lobes. They are painted in a dark green color, which acquires a noble bronze hue by the beginning of autumn.

The flowers are bisexual, which not only facilitates pollination by insects, but also gives a chance for self-pollination.


At the end of the growing season, the bush is covered with medium-sized bunches of a cylindrical-conical shape. The average weight among the brushes is 110-150 g, but with proper care and a favorable combination of circumstances, it can reach 200-250 g. The length of the brush reaches 13-18 cm, and the width is 10-12 cm. The bunches have a uniform color and average density. This vine is distinguished by its visual appeal, which is successfully demonstrated by the photos.

Individual berries are spherical and weigh 1-2 g. The color is dark blue, approaching black. Each grape is coated with a dense natural wax coating that dulls the color a little. Its main function is to protect the berries from damage and cracking.

The pulp is moderately watery, dense and fleshy. Inside you can find 1-4 medium sized seeds. The pulp also has a dark shade to match the peel. The juice has no pronounced color. The skin is thin enough. Due to this feature, the fruits have a reduced tannin content. This property is successfully used by winemakers to reduce the intensity of tannins of other technical varieties (Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbeca). Thanks to this solution, it is possible to soften the taste of wines from these varieties.

Like most technical varieties, it is not eaten, although it is possible. Due to its pronounced acidity, it can irritate the mucous membranes and skin around the mouth. The peel has an unpleasant tart taste and is extremely unpleasant when consumed.

The fruits have a bright harmonious taste with a pronounced acidity (5-8 g / l) and a high sugar content of 19-22%. The level of sugar content depends on the length of stay on the branches and on the number of warm sunny days per year. The higher these indicators, the sweeter the grapes.

Merlot is appreciated primarily for its rich fruity taste and aroma. It is dominated by notes of currants, cherries, blueberries, plums, caramel, chocolate, black, green pepper and light shades of herbs. After many years of aging in oak barrels, the palette of tastes and aromas is revealed even more. Coffee notes appear in it, a taste of truffles.

The taste qualities of the "Merlot" grape variety largely depend on the growing terroir of a particular plant. So, for example, sandy soils make the taste of the fruit softer, and limestone soils saturate the grapes with a strong aroma.

Ripening terms

The harvest time depends entirely on the type of wine that needs to be made from it. The minimum term is 153 days. This time falls on the end of September, and the grapes are sent to the production of table wines. Fruit for dessert wine reaches its condition in 165 days (first half of October).

Disease resistance

This type of vine has high indicators of resistance to mildew, but moderate to rot. It is practically not affected by insects and birds, which is a big plus for gardeners.

Resistant to weather conditions

Such a species as "Merlot" is able to productively exist in both arid and humid climates. It is able to withstand winter frosts (-20-22 0 C), but most experts recommend building winter shelters. They are mandatory for young plants with an undeveloped root system.

Merlot grape variety

Merlot is an excellent and widespread dark colored technical grape native to France. Belongs to the Western European ecological-geographical group. Its small homeland is the famous province of Bordeaux, which has long been famous for its wonderful traditions of viticulture and winemaking. The name comes from one of the Old French dialects, in which "merlot" is a diminutive of the word "merle", which means "blackbird". According to some researchers, the name is due to the fact that these birds loved to feast on grapes, others suggest that the whole point is in the figurative similarity of a black bird and a bunch of grapes.

The first mentions of Merlot are in the notes of a local official from Bordeaux, who in 1784 named the wine made from these grapes one of the best in the Libourne region. In the 19th century, this variety begins to spread throughout France, and then throughout the European continent. Already in the XX century, winegrowers of the New World became interested in the variety, where over time, very significant in terms of planting area were concentrated. Currently, around the world, our hero's plantings occupy about 270 thousand hectares, which makes him one of the leaders in prevalence, and according to some sources - the most popular variety of dark-colored grapes on the globe. Besides France, it is distributed in Italy, Algeria, USA, Romania, Australia, Argentina, Bulgaria, Canada, Chile, Greece, New Zealand, South Africa, Switzerland, Croatia, Hungary, Montenegro, Slovenia, Mexico and other countries. At the same time, one cannot fail to mention an interesting fact: after a series of unsuccessful seasons, including severe frosts in 1956 and several crops in the 1960s, lost due to rot, in the homeland of the variety, in Bordeaux, the French authorities banned new plantings of Merlot vines. ... The ban lasted five years - from 1970 to 1975, however, in the end, common sense still prevailed, and the authorities abandoned their idea.

In the 90s of the XX century, researchers from the University of California at Davis, based on DNA analysis, proved that Merlot is a descendant of Cabernet Franc, and can be considered the half-brother of Malbec and Cabernet Sauvignon. The second parent was not discovered until the late 2000s, when genetic analysis pointed to a little-known and unnamed variety as the mother form of the famous Bordeaux grape. For the first time, its DNA samples were taken from plants growing in an abandoned vineyard in Sainte-Suliac in Brittany, but then this variety was discovered in front of houses as an ornamental vine in a number of local villages. In colloquial speech, she was known as Madeleine or Raisins de la Madeleine due to the early ripening of the bunches, which are ready to be harvested as early as July 22 on the day of Mary Magdalene.When the connection with Merlot became known, the grape was officially registered under the name Magdalen Noire des Charentes (Magdeleine Noire des Charentes).

Breeders actively used our hero for crossing with other varieties, as a result of which a significant number of his quite worthy descendants appeared. In addition, over the years of its existence, it has spawned a color mutation known as Merlot Gris, which has a pink berry coloration and is also widely cultivated. That being said, the light-colored grape known as Merlot Blanc is not a color clone, but rather a variety of Merlot offspring crossed with Voll Blanche.

Agrobiological characteristics

Plants of medium or above medium vigor. The crown of a young shoot is gray, with a noticeable pink spot on the tips of the blossoming leaves, covered with dense tomentose pubescence. Young leaves are green in color with a slight bronze tint. The standard leaf is dark green, medium-sized (15x16cm), rounded, funnel-curved in appearance, five-lobed with an average degree of dissection. The surface of the leaf blade is vesicular-wrinkled, the reverse side has a rare cobweb pubescence. The upper side cuts are relatively deep, usually closed with an elliptical opening, often with a notch at the bottom. The lower notches are medium in depth, open, lyre-shaped, with a narrow aperture or parallel sides. Petiole notches are found in various forms: open arched or lyre-shaped with a pointed bottom, as well as closed ones with an ovoid lumen. The denticles along the edge of the leaf blade are of medium size, triangular with sharp apices and barely curved edges. The flowers of the variety are bisexual, well pollinated with their own pollen, but peas are quite common, in which the underdeveloped grapes remain green at the time of harvest. The vine ripens perfectly by the time of frost in the fall (90−95%). Ripe shoots of grapes acquire a yellowish-brown color with slightly darker areas in the area of ​​ u200b u200bthe nodes. The autumn color of the foliage is reddish-yellow.

The size of the Merlot bunches is average. Usually they are 12-17 cm long, 7-12 cm wide. The shape is cylindrical-conical or winged, the density is moderate. The mass of a bunch usually ranges from 110-150 grams. The comb is of medium length. The berries are also medium in size, round, 12-14 mm in diameter and weighing 1-1.4 grams, black, covered with a thick protective coating of prune. The pulp of the variety is juicy, has a pleasant harmonious taste with a nightshade or herbaceous shade. Freshly squeezed juice is colorless, the content of glucose and fructose in it depends on the timing of harvesting grapes, ranging from 19.5 to 22 grams / 100 cubic meters. cm, titratable acidity also varies in the range of 5.2-8.5 grams / cubic dm. The skin is somewhat coarse, medium in thickness, strong. The berry contains from one to three seeds. From the total mass of the crop during processing, 73-74% of the juice, 22-23% of the skin, dense parts of the pulp and seeds, as well as 4-5% of the ridges come out.

The grapes are used to make excellent red table and dessert wines with a mild taste and delicate delicate bouquet. Especially high-quality raw materials are provided by old powerful bushes, while young plantings are just preparing to become ideal for great drinks. Although Merlot is produced throughout the world, there are two main styles of wine making. The “international style” favored by many wine-growing regions in the New World is characterized by late harvest, in order to achieve physiological maturity and the subsequent production of dark-colored, full-bodied wines with a high alcohol content, soft, velvety tannins and intense notes of plum and blackberry in the aroma. The traditional Bordeaux style involves harvesting earlier to maintain acidity and produce wines with moderate alcohol levels that have a fresh fruity bouquet with strawberry and raspberry tones and herbaceous notes. Merlot's softness and velvety make it a popular blend variety with a harsher and harsher Cabernet Sauvignon, which tends to be higher in tannins.

The grapes are late ripening. The growing season from bud break to the onset of removable ripeness is at least 150-155 days for the production of table wines, and 160-165 for dessert. The collection usually takes place from late September to mid-October. The required sum of active temperatures, depending on the timing of harvesting, ranges from 3000 to 3300 ° C. In domestic conditions, this limits the possibility of its cultivation only in southern, traditionally viticultural regions. At the same time, it is also characterized by not the highest frost resistance, which requires its shelter in areas of cultivation, where the winter temperature drops below −21 ... −22 ° С.

The productivity of the variety is usually slightly higher than that of its brother and at the same time its main competitor - Cabernet Sauvignon. This is due to a larger bunch of Merlot, while the fertility of plants is at an average level for the noble European technical varieties. On fertile soils, it tends to be overloaded, which affects the quality of the crop, and the strength of the growth of the shoots, as well as their ripening. The average yield is 45−55 kg / ha. The proportion of fruitful shoots is 52-53%, the number of clusters per developed shoot is on average 0.6, per fruitful - 1.2. Dormant and replacement buds are usually not fertile. This is especially unpleasant due to the variety's propensity for early flowering, which increases the risk of crop loss due to recurrent frosts.

After ripening, the grapes can continue to hang on the bushes, accumulating sugar and reducing acidity. The result is excellent raw materials for dessert and specific dry wines. In this case, damage by wasps does not occur, however, sweet berries can become easy prey for birds that huddle in the fall in flocks. This requires action to keep birds away from the vineyard.

Agrotechnical features

Despite the somewhat better economic qualities of Merlot in comparison with other Western European varieties, its cultivation requires a competent approach and a clear understanding of the necessity and importance of each technological operation.

For placement it prefers warm slopes with ordinary, typical or carbonate chernozems, medium or heavy in texture. Too dry, or vice versa, damp and wetlands, as well as lowlands and northern slopes, are categorically unsuitable. The grapes are unstable to phylloxera, and therefore phylloxera-resistant seedlings are used for planting plantations. The recommended rootstocks are Riparia x Rupestris 101-14, Berlandieri x Riparia CO4, Berlandieri x Riparia Kober 5BB.

The bush management scheme should be determined depending on the local climatic conditions in winter and the ability of the variety to overcome the cold season without damage. Ideally, a high-stamped shaping with a large supply of perennial wood and a free arrangement of annual growth is preferable for Merlot. The planting pattern will be about 3 meters between rows and 1.25-1.5 m between plants in a row. However, this option is applicable only in the case of rather mild winters, and there is no risk of death, in general, not too frost-resistant grape bushes. In the absence of such guarantees, it is necessary to take care of protecting the vines from frost, which will require the use of stampless forms - fan-shaped multi-arm or inclined cordon. Thanks to this, the above-ground part of the bush can be quite easily removed from the trellis and covered with earth or available organic materials: straw, sawdust, fallen leaves, reeds The main thing is not to forget to make a waterproofing layer over the insulating layer, from roofing material or film. It will prevent the insulating material and the vine itself from getting wet, and at the same time the damping of the eyes, which often occurs with careless shelter. With such a scheme for the formation of a bush and a vertical garter of one-year growth, the distance between the rows can be reduced to 2.25-2.5 m.Another option can be an intermediate - semi-covering formation, which implies warming only reserve vines, while the main part of the plant is formed on the trunk ... This significantly reduces the effort to carry out the time-consuming shelter procedure, and at the same time guarantees the restoration of the grape bush in the event of severe damage during an overly cold winter.

Determining the load on the variety in spring and regulating it during the growing season is the basis for obtaining a significant amount of Merlot harvest. It is worth noting here that a number of French, and not only, winemakers advocate a deliberate decrease in yield in order to improve the quality of wine, however, if we are not talking about exclusive drinks, this approach seems inappropriate. The optimal load can be called a load of 50-60 eyes per bush with an average length of pruning of fruit arrows for 4-6 buds. Additional regulation of the load is carried out in the course of green operations, when excess sterile and weak shoots break off on the plants. As a result, in the fall, an average of about five kilograms of grapes are harvested from the bush.

In relation to fungal diseases, Merlot behaves as follows: it still demonstrates some resistance to mildew and gray rot, but it is very strongly affected by powdery mildew. This requires numerous treatments with fungicides according to schemes of protection of unstable varieties, with only minimal indulgences in relation to rot and downy mildew.

Harvesting should be done in the context of future plans for the production of a particular type of wine. It should be borne in mind that Merlot is characterized by rapid overripening after the onset of technological ripeness. Grapes that have accumulated significant amounts of sugar will no longer make the exclusively wine that is produced in his homeland in Bordeaux. However, it cannot be said that in the case of late harvesting of the bunches, the drink from them will become worse. Many wineries in the world also work in this way, and their product has a huge army of sincere admirers.

Most common wine varieties

The eight listed wine varieties illustrate the vast majority of the typical traits and aromas of wines. Possible alternatives with similar features are also indicated for each of the varieties. Therefore, if you like a particular type of wine, you can try to find something similar.

Cabernet Sauvignon

Taste: Black currant, ripe cherry, pastry spices, cedar.
Style: full-bodied red wine
Description: Cabernet Sauvignon is a wine with a rich and intense flavor, first appeared in France. Today it is the most popular wine in the world. The wine is characterized by a high level of tannins and a persistent peppery aftertaste.
Cabernet Sauvignon is combined with the following dishes: lamb, beef, smoked meats, hard aged cheeses (eg: Cheddar, Pecorino).

Alternatives to Cabernet Sauvignon:

  • Merlot: lighter and softer, more cherry notes
  • Cabernet Franc: lighter, with more notes of red pepper and herbs
  • Carmenere: (Chile) lighter, with cherry and red pepper notes
  • Bordeaux: (France) a mixture of Cabernet varieties (predominantly) and / or Merlot from the province of Bordeaux
  • Sangiovese: (Italy) more spice, cherry pie and herb flavors.

Syrah (Shiraz)

Taste: Blueberry, plum, pepper, chocolate, tobacco
Style: full-bodied red wine
Description: Syrah (Shiraz) is a full-bodied and rich red wine that originated in France. These wines are full of juicy fruits and light tannins, which add a soft finish. Syrah is commonly used with Grenache and Mourvèdre to create red wines from the Rhone Valley (France).

Syrah goes well with the following dishes: lamb, beef, smoked meats, salted cheeses such as feta, hard cheeses such as white cheddar or Spanish "Lamanchee" sheep's Manchego cheese.

Syrah's alternatives
  • Malbec: (Argentina) softer, less intense, more prunes in the aftertaste
  • Petit Sirah: (USA) more powerful and more tannic, more blackcurrant flavor
  • Monastrell (or Mourvèdre): (Spain) more powerful with smoked notes
  • Pinotage: (South Africa) more powerful, with notes of smoked meats


Taste: strawberries, blackberries, pastry spices, tobacco.
Style: medium-bodied red wine.
Description: Zinfandel (also known as Primitivo) is a red grape native to Croatia. The wines made from it are rich in fruits, flavored with spices and have a medium-intensity aftertaste. This grape variety gained fame thanks to its rose wine.
Zinfandel is served to: chicken, pork, dried and raw smoked meat, lamb, beef, grilled, rich and spicy cheeses (Cheddar, Manchego).

Alternatives to Zinfandel:
  • Grenache (or Garnacha): lighter and less spicy, with more raspberries.
  • Tempranillo: (Spain) Less fruit, more tannins. predominantly red cherry
  • Rhone Valley wines: blend of varieties Grenache, Syrah and Mourvèdre.
  • Carignan: Lighter, more fruity and juicy.

Pinot Noir

Taste: Cherries, cranberries, cloves, mushrooms.
Style: light, transparent taste, unsaturated red wine. The term “Light-bodied” is used to describe this style.
Description: Pinot Noir is a dry light red wine originating in France. Slightly tart wines, with a rounded and delicate taste and a long calm aftertaste.
What to drink Pinot Noir with: chicken, pork, veal, duck, sausages, cream sauces, soft cheeses, medium hard cheeses

Pinot Noir alternatives:
  • Gamay (also known as Beaujolais): (France) lighter, fruity, with a more pronounced final bitterness


Taste: carambola, yellow apples, butter, chalk.
Description: Chardonnay is a dry, full-bodied and rich wine, originally from France. When aged in oak, Chardonnay acquires pronounced notes of cream, ghee and butter. For unrestrained Chardonnay, lightness and piquancy are characteristic.

Basic notes: apple and citrus fruits. White Burgundy wines are made from the Chardonnay grape variety.
Chardonnay goes well with the following dishes: lobsters, crabs, shrimps, chicken, pork, mushrooms, cream sauces, soft cheeses (such as brie), medium hard cheeses.

Alternatives to Chardonnay:

  • Sémillon: A lighter wine with pronounced lemon notes.
  • Viognier: More scented and vanilla wine

Sauvignon Blanc

Taste: Gooseberry, melon, passion fruit, meadow herbs
Description: The wines from this grape, which first appeared in France, are distinguished by their piquancy, which is given by the pronounced aromas of herbs and fruits.

Sauvignon Blanc is the oldest grape variety. It is Sauvignon Blanc that is the ancestor of Cabernet Sauvignon.
Sauvignon Blanc is combined with the following dishes: fish, chicken, pork, veal, cheeses with herbs, cheeses with a pronounced nutty flavor (for example, Gruyere).

Sauvignon Blanc alternatives:
  • Vermentino: from Italy
  • Verdejo: Spanish
  • Grüner Veltliner: from austria
  • Colombard: from the south of France

Pinot Gris

(also known as Pinot Grigio)

Taste: Lemon zest, melon, nectarine, white peach
Description: Pinot Gris is a dry, light and transparent white wine, originally from the north of Italy and France. These savory wines are good thirst quenchers and are usually not very “alcoholic” (typically no more than 12%), making them ideal drinks for outdoor events.
What is Pinot Gris combined with: the best companion for spicy and peppery food: Thai or Indian.

Alternatives to Pinot Gris
  • Albariño: Spain
  • Soave: Wine from the Italian grape variety Garganega
  • Muscadet: French wine from the Melon de Bourgogne variety (Melon de Bourgogne)


Taste: lime, apple, beeswax, honey
Description: Riesling is usually a very aromatic wine, not dry, but sweet (although there are many dry varieties).

Riesling is originally from Germany and is the most famous and popular variety in this country. The wine is characterized by an appetizing and sweet aroma of lemon pie with honey. Low alcohol content (9-10%)
Riesling goes well with: poultry, pork, smoked meats, pickled cheeses and fondue.

Merlot grape variety

If you are looking for grapes for wine making, then you should certainly consider planting a Merlot variety. The article contains information about its advantages and disadvantages, as well as about the features of cultivation.

Origin of the variety

Where exactly the Merlot came from was not known until 1992. Thanks to DNA analysis, scientists were able to establish that one of its progenitors was Cabernet Franc. Later it became known that the second variety, which gave rise to Merlot, is Madeleine Noir de Charente. The homeland of the variety is the province of Bordeaux in France. Today it is cultivated in all countries where climatic conditions are suitable for this.

Description of the Merlot grape variety

Merlot is ranked among the red grape varieties, among the six "great wine varieties", that is, those that play an important role in wine production. Together with the Cabernet Sauvignon variety, it forms the basis for Bordeaux wines. It is international and the second most popular in the world. Grows in the Mediterranean, Algeria, Crimea. The name is translated from French as "blackbird". The variety is distinguished by a high level of resistance to fungal diseases, medium resistance to frost and lack of moisture.


Merlot grapes can do both good and bad. To understand which is more, consider its indicators of calorie content, sugar content and acidity.

Calorie content

The berries of this variety are not too high in calories. 100 g of fresh product contains 63 kcal. However, if warm weather is observed for a long time, then the berries can accumulate more sugar, which means that their calorie content will be higher.

Benefit and harm

Grapes generally have beneficial effects on the human body, but they can also be harmful.

  • There are quite a few useful properties:
  • replenishment of the body with vital vitamins (A, groups B, C, K, H), macro- and microelements (potassium, magnesium, zinc, sodium), organic acids
  • general strengthening of the body
  • beneficial effect on the activity of the heart and vascular system
  • positive effect on kidney function
  • slowing down cell aging
  • calming the nervous system
  • getting rid of depression
  • maintaining the normal condition of the skin, hair and nails.

Berries can be harmful if a person has intolerance and consumption in excessive quantities. Also, it should not be used by allergy sufferers and patients with diabetes.

Sugar content and acidity

The sugar content of berries reaches the level of 19.5-22%, acidity - 5.2-8.5%. In warm and dry years, the sugar content of grapes is higher.

Bush characteristic

We offer you to get acquainted with the external characteristics and distinctive features of the variety.

Merlot shoots are gray with pink spots, pubescent, spreading. They are medium or tall in height. Before the autumn frosts, the vine has time to ripen by 90–95%. Leaves are dark green, in autumn they are yellow with red spots. They are medium in size, rounded, medium dissected, have 5 lobes, and are curved in the form of a funnel. There are teeth along the edges.


The clusters are medium in size - 12–17 cm long and 7–12 cm wide. They have the shape of a cylindrical cone. Their density is average. The mass of one piece reaches 113–150 g. Medium grapes - 1.3–1.4 cm in length and 1.2–1.3 cm in width. The color is dark blue, almost black. Rounded in shape. The dense skin has a thick waxy coating. The pulp of the berries is characterized by juiciness and harmonious taste. It has a light shade of nightshade. The average weight of one grape is 10-14 g. There are few seeds in the pulp - from 1 to 3 pieces. Berries are 73–74% juice, 22% dense rind.


The Merlot harvest ripens 153-164 days after budding. Berry picking takes place in late September - early October. The yield is consistently high. In the bush, about 53% of the shoots bear fruit. On a fruitful shoot, 1-2 clusters develop on average. Up to 50 kg can be removed from 3 bushes at the age of 3 years. Official statistics say that 47 centners are harvested from 1 hectare on average, with a maximum of 57 centners.

Application features

Merlot is used to produce table and dessert red wine, and the variety is also used to improve other alcoholic beverages, blending. In the USA and Italy varietal wine is made from it. Fresh berries are rarely eaten.

Merlot fragrances

Alcoholic products have pronounced fruit and berry shades and a harmonious taste. Experts in the tasting business note that they contain, in particular, plum, cherry, cherry, blackberry, caramel, chocolate, coffee notes.

The qualities of wines made from the Merlot variety

Wines based on this variety are distinguished by a rich taste, what color and quality the wine made from berries will be depends on several factors:

  • the climate where the grapes grew
  • sunlight intensity
  • region of cultivation
  • growing method.

The quality of the wine will also be influenced by the aging time. As you age, the taste of the alcoholic drink changes, becomes richer and more interesting. Wine based on Merlot is light, with a rich palate, dark garnet color, high alcohol content and low acidity. The most expensive drink produced from this variety is Chateau Petrus. Other wines are in the mid-range and are suitable for everyday use. Most often there is a blend with Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc. Merlot wines can be drunk at a young age. Among sommeliers, they are not highly valued, they are considered drinks for beginners.

Merlot species

Wine shops also present such interesting variations of drinks from the described variety as Caberlo and White Merlot.


It is a drink made by mixing grape juice and pulp "Merlot" and "Cabernet". It is aged in oak barrels for 24 months. It gives off blueberry, spicy and coffee aromas. In the process of consumption, it has a subtle taste of tannin. Afterwards, it leaves a pleasant aftertaste of fruit.

"White Merlot"

The drink is unique in that, thanks to a special production technology, it is possible to make white wine from dark grapes. It is recommended to drink alcoholic drinks based on Merlot chilled up to + 16 ° С.

Advantages and disadvantages of the variety

  • Among the advantages of the variety, the following should be noted:
  • berries have excellent taste
  • bushes are resistant to fungal diseases
  • bisexual flowering is inherent in bushes, providing good pollination and yields
  • seedlings are quickly and well accepted, adapt to new conditions
  • grapes store sugar well
  • berries are rarely rotted.
  • Merlot also has disadvantages:
  • pea berries
  • weak resistance to powdery mildew.

Growing features

To get a sufficient amount of harvest and fruits of the appropriate taste, you must adhere to all recommendations for planting and caring for the plant. It is important to choose the right planting material, choose the right place for planting, and correctly plant the seedlings. Merlot yields the greatest yields when grown on dry soils, similar to those found in mountainous areas. When cultivated on clay soils with an admixture of sand, more subtle notes are added to the taste of berries; on a lime soil, the taste will be more intense, and on sandy soil, it will be softer. Like any grape, Merlot needs light. When choosing a site for cultivation, you should choose one on which the sun's rays fall until 3 pm. However, it must be sheltered from drafts, which can be detrimental to the vines. It should be borne in mind that the grapes will not grow in wetlands, with a close occurrence of groundwater (closer than 2 m from the soil surface), which is flooded in the spring.

Landing technology

The grapes can be planted both in autumn and spring. The exact timing of planting will depend on climatic conditions. In autumn, berry bushes are planted in mid-October. After being placed in the ground, they are immediately covered for the winter. In spring, grapes are planted when stable warm weather is established: from late March to mid-April. Those that have green shoots need to be planted later: in May - June. In the case of a forecast for return frosts, the bushes will also need to be covered. Merlot is planted using seedlings or cuttings.

The technology for planting seedlings is as follows:

  1. 10-14 days before the planned planting, dig a hole with the dimensions corresponding to the root system of the plants - an average of about 80 cm in depth and width.
  2. At the bottom of the planting pit, pour layers of soil saturated with nutrients, 2 buckets of humus, fertile soil.
  3. On the day of planting, place the berry bush in the center of the hole so that the root collar is at the level of its edge.
  4. Fill up with the remaining soil.
  5. Water abundantly.
  6. Install the trellis or support pegs.
  7. Mulch the trunk circle with mowed grass, peat, sawdust, moss, etc.

A distance of 1.5–2 m should be observed between bushes, 3.5–4 m between rows. The first crop will appear 3 years after planting. Productivity lasts for 10 years.

Grape care

Particular attention should be paid to grapes in the following phases of development:

It is during these periods that berry bushes need the most moisture and fertilization. Watering is done once every 3-4 weeks. Additional watering will be required during dry periods. They take cold water for humidification. Moisturizing is done in the evening, after the sun goes down. After each watering, you need to mulch the soil in the near-stem circle. Straw, sawdust, peat are suitable for mulching. This procedure allows you to retain moisture in the soil, prevent weeds from growing and reduce the amount of loosening.

Loosening should be done after each watering and precipitation. It is necessary to prevent the formation of a hard crust on the surface of the soil, to improve its air and moisture permeability. On loose soil, minerals will be better delivered to the roots. Weeds should be removed as needed. This will prevent the development of certain diseases and parasitic insects, and will also prevent weeds from taking nutrients from the grape bushes.

You need to feed the grapes up to 5 times per season. The first 3 groundbaits must contain nitrogen. The next ones are phosphorus and potassium. As top dressing, ready-made complex fertilizers are used, mixtures are made with their own hands, and, if possible, organic matter is introduced. It is important not to overdo it with fertilizers, as an excessive amount of them weakens the plant, making it susceptible to disease. The list of mandatory procedures includes pruning shoots. It is done for several purposes - sanitary, when damaged and diseased branches are removed, and formative - with it, shoots are cut in order to stimulate the growth of young branches and increase yields.

Merlot bushes are pruned, leaving the strongest branches, which are tied to a support or trellis. In the future, the growing shoots are cut into 6-8 eyes. For better fruit setting, pinching of the tops is recommended.

For the winter, the bushes are cut and covered, for shelter they use:

  • land
  • wooden boards
  • slate
  • coniferous spruce branches.

Diseases and Control Measures

Merlot is characterized by a relative resistance to diseases such as mildew, fruit rot, and a low level of resistance to powdery mildew. In order to prevent this disease from entering the vineyard, it is necessary to begin to carry out preventive treatments in spring. A decoction of lime and sulfur or 1-2% DNOC solution is used. Before flowering, the vines are sprayed with preparations containing sulfur. Repeat spraying after 1.5-2 weeks. Also grapes can get sick with anthracnose, chlorosis, bacteriosis and rubella.

  1. Anthracnose appears as brown spots on leaves with a dark rim. In the future, other organs also suffer. Prevention consists in spraying 2 times with 1% Bordeaux liquid or copper oxychloride solution. The break between treatments is 14 days.
  2. A sign of chlorosis is the lightening of the leaves. You can prevent it by properly planting the bushes, pouring a layer of drainage into the planting holes, regularly mulching the soil, thinning the plantings and enriching the soil with microelements.
  3. With bacteriosis, dark depressed spots appear on the leaves, berries and stems, the shoots dry out. For prevention purposes, it is necessary to keep the cuttings in warm water before planting, timely carry out pest control, prune only with a disinfected tool, and do not overmoisten the soil.
  4. Rubella appears as red spots on the foliage. To prevent it, make regular application of potassium-containing dressings, processing (up to 5 times) with 1% solution of potassium nitrate.

It is important not to ignore precisely preventive measures, since, as a rule, grape diseases are treated with the help of chemicals. In addition, diseases spread rapidly, and therapy in an advanced stage may be useless. And if the disease befell the bushes during the fruiting period, then you will have to say goodbye to the harvest, since the use of "chemistry" during this period is unacceptable.

Summarizing the above, we note that Merlot is one of the most popular grape varieties from which red table and varietal wine is made. When cultivating it, it is important to choose the right place and provide quality care. The variety is suitable for growing in large fields and small backyards.

Grape care - 6 rules

Maintenance of technical grape varieties has no fundamental differences from standard agricultural techniques.

Merlot grape care scheme

1. Landing plot

2. Top dressing

The main fertilizer is applied to the soil during planting. The next 3-4 years, the young bush does not need fertilization.

After this period, the scheme of annual feeding is approximately as follows:

  • in spring, a couple of weeks before flowering: urea or ammonium nitrate, plus any nitrogen-containing mineral complex
  • at the time of pouring berrieswhile they are firm and green: feeding should be repeated with the previous composition, reducing the amount of nitrogen by half
  • in autumn, after harvest, for digging, wood ash and ammonium sulfate.

Foliar dressing is carried out 3 times a year: 7-10 days before flowering, a couple of weeks after flowering and a month before harvest.

3. Watering

4. Pruning

For technical grape varieties, pruning is carried out in two stages:

5. Wreckage

6. Prevention and treatment of diseases and pests

For the prevention of diseases, I carry out 2-3 treatments per season:

  • first, in early spring - I spray the bush with a Bordeaux mixture of 3% or copper sulfate
  • before or after flowering - any fungicidal preparation
  • last time - after autumn pruning, before shelter for the winter - copper sulfate or Bordeaux liquid.

Pest insects

The main thing to know is that healthy and well-groomed bushes are rarely attacked by pests.The most effective measure in the fight against insects, I consider timely and regular care of the vineyard, including weeding, loosening, removing excess foliage.

  • excellent taste of wine
  • fairly fast maturation
  • good performance in terms of climatic adaptive characteristics
  • easily takes root, practically does not get sick during transplantation
  • immune to mildew.

  • has a tendency to pea
  • without proper preventive measures, it can be affected by powdery mildew, susceptible to powdery mildew.

In the video - caring for Merlot grapes

Watch the video: AWTCW - Popular Red Grape Varieties Of Wine