The name was coined in 1988 by a group of vintners who sought to establish standards of identification for a category of American blended wines made with traditional Bordeaux grape varieties. The name Meritage (a compound of the words merit and heritage) was chosen from over 6,000 entries in an international contest held by these vintners. The purpose of The Meritage Association is to help identify quality American wine blends that, because they’re not made with at least 75 percent of a single variety, can’t use the variety name on the label.