Merlot - The Classic Red Wine Variety Perfected in Southern Ontario
Merlot is a grape variety that is known for its ease of cultivation and high yields. However, it is winter-sensitive and does not perform well in colder climates such as Prince Edward County. To protect the vines from frost, winter protection measures such as burying the vines or using frost protection systems may be necessary. Merlot is adaptable to different soil types and can tolerate a range of alkalinity, from 6.0-8.0.
In the Vineyard:
Merlot is a productive variety, producing large clusters of grapes with a moderate drooping growth habit and few laterals. It is a good choice for a cordon training system for low maintenance and the best production. Merlot is susceptible to several diseases such as Downy and Powdery Mildew, and Black Rot, but can be controlled with a well-timed spray program.
Merlot grapes have a medium-large berry size, averaging 2-3g per berry. The clusters are usually compact and weigh around 150-200g (average 175g). The berries are dark blue in colour and have thick, tough skin. The ripening period for Merlot ranges from 150-170 days from bud break. The fruit typically reaches maturity at 22-24 Brix, with a pH range of 3.5-3.7 and a TA range of 0.6-0.7%.
Merlot grapes produce wine with a medium-deep red colour, and a complex aroma and flavour profile. The wine is known for its soft tannins and rich, smooth mouthfeel. The flavour profile of Merlot wine usually includes notes of black fruit such as black cherry, blackberry, and plum, with hints of chocolate, cedar, and tobacco. The wine is versatile and can be produced in a range of styles, from dry and medium-bodied to full-bodied and fruit-forward.
In the Winery:
Merlot grapes are usually fermented at cool temperatures, around 60-68°F (15-20°C), to preserve the fruit flavours. The wine can be aged in oak barrels for 6-12 months to impart vanilla, toast, and smoke flavours.
At Traynor Family Vineyard, we source our Merlot grapes from Watson Vineyards in Niagara-on-the-Lake, where the climate is more suitable for the variety. The grapes are used to produce our Merlot, Cherry Bomb Clarete, Breakfast in the Vineyard Glou Glou, and Ophelia Piquette.
Merlot is a grape variety that is known for its ease of cultivation and high yields, but it is winter-sensitive and does not perform well in colder climates such as Prince Edward County. At Traynor Family Vineyard, we source our Merlot grapes from Watson Vineyards in Niagara-on-the-Lake, where the grapes are used to produce a range of wines with a rich and smooth mouthfeel, and a complex flavour profile including notes of black fruit, chocolate, cedar, and tobacco.