2020 Merlot 1

October 2020 – I’m making a Merlot-heavy Bordeaux style blend this year. As part of that I’m fermenting 2 batches of Merlot, one with American oak as a fermentation oak, and one with French oak. They will probably get blended together, but this is an experiment to see if it’s worth paying a bit more for shredded French oak.

This one has American oak.

This log tracks the fermentation and pressing of this wine. Post-fermentation I have 3 records to track:

Unoaked Merlot 1 — I’m reserving 4 liters, which will remain unoaked, and bottled separately. This  wine is for comparison purposes in future years, and will continue to be tracked in this log.

Meritage — One barrel contains only free run wine, a blend of 2/3 Merlot and 1/3 Vinifera Blend. This wine is tracked in a separate log.

Meritage Plus – The second barrel contains everything else, and is roughly 40% Merlot, 20% Vinifera Blend, and 40% Merlot. This wine is tracked in a separate log.

Note: I’m using the name “Meritage”, which is copyright by the Meritage Alliance. This group was founded to create and protect a name for Bordeaux-style wines that does not violate French law regarding the use of the name “Bordeaux”. Commercial wineries pay a fee to the Alliance to use the name. I’m not commercial, my wines are not for sale, and will never be tasted by anyone other that family and friends, so I don’t feel bad about using the name. If I went commercial, I’d join the Alliance.



Grape 144# Merlot from Lanza Vineyards, Suisun Valley, CA
Enzyme 2 tsp Scottzyme Color Pro
Fermentation Oak 1 lb shredded American oak, medium toast
Yeast 2 packages Red Star Premier Rouge
Nutrient 12 tsp Fermax
Sulfite potassium metabisulfite added at various points (see below)



Crushed & destemmed the grapes. Grapes at 52 F, have to warm up to 65 F before inoculation.

Added Scottzyme Color Pro for improved color extraction and 1 lb fermentation oak.

SG 1.102
Temperature rose to 67 F in the afternoon. Added 12 tsp Fermax and yeast. 10/11/2020
SG 1.102
Added 6 Tsp Fermax. 10/14/2020
SG 1.059
Drained the free run wine. I reserved 2 gallons, which will continue to be tracked in this log. The remainder is part of the Meritage blend.

Medium pressed the pomace. This is moved into the Meritage Plus blend.

American and French fermentation oak made a difference, the American is a bit fruitier. Eric & I both prefer the American, although the wine is so green at this time that things could change after aging.

SG 0.998
Racked. I messed up, as I was keeping the Merlot 1 & 2 wines separate, but mixed them up during racking. Plan B, just blend the Merlot and don’t worry about it.

I reduced this batch to a two 4 liter jugs and one 1.5 liter wine bottle. The remainder is moved to the Meritage blend.

Both Merlot 1 & 2 are tracked in this log, from this point forwards.

SG 0.996
Racked. I reduced this batch to a single 4 liter jug. The remainder is moved to the Meritage blend, as I only want 5 bottles of the unoaked Merlot. Since I goofed, mixing #1 & #2 batches, there’s no need for more bottles. 02/25/2021
SG 0.996


Yield ? bottles
Alcohol ?%