September 22, 2015
Beginning October 1, 2015, more than 100 Merlot-producing wineries from California, Oregon, Washington, and around the world will join together for #MerlotMe, a month-long, global social media event celebrating the noble variety.
Building on the success of last year’s #MerlotMe celebration, which generated 47 million social media impressions and reached a worldwide audience of 6.5 million people, the 2015 #MerlotMe event will feature new Merlot-themed events and initiatives. These include sommelier comparative tastings of Merlots from around the world, Merlot promotions on more than 400 digital wine lists, and Merlot-paired food blog features spotlighting the food-friendly nature of the varietal.
Renowned sommelier and social media expert Rick Bakas will be the online ambassador for International Merlot Month, with merlotme.com acting as the event’s web hub. The flagship 2015 #MerlotMe event will be the Bottlenotes Around the World in 80 Sips Merlot Tasting on October 16 in San Francisco, featuring 20 acclaimed Merlot producers.
The goal of #MerlotMe is to champion the world-class nature of the noble Merlot varietal. With approximately 720,000 acres of Merlot planted worldwide, Merlot is one of the most popular fine wine varieties. It is currently the most widely planted grape in France, where there are more than 286,000 acres. According to Wine Searcher, currently the two most expensive Bordeaux wines in the world are Pétrus and Château Le Pin, both of which sell for over $2,000 per bottle and are comprised of 70-100% Merlot! In the United States, Merlot is the third most popular varietal for on-premise wine lists, both by the bottle and glass, and in the +$20 price point, it outsells both Zinfandel and Syrah combined.
“This is a period of Renaissance for Merlot,” says Bakas. “Around the world, the quality of the Merlots being made has never been better. #MerlotMe is a fantastic way for wineries, restaurants, sommeliers and wine lovers to come together on a big stage to talk about this amazing grape. Whether people are attending a local tasting, a winemaker dinner, or just using the #MerlotMe hashtag to share their thoughts about the Merlot they’re drinking, this is a great opportunity to celebrate Merlot on a universal scale.”
In addition to the many participating wineries, #MerlotMe is being supported by numerous associations, including the Napa Valley Vintners, Visit Napa Valley, Washington State Wine, Paso Robles Wine Country Alliance, Hawke’s Bay Wine and the New Zealand Winegrowers. Other #MerlotMe partners include Whole Foods, Eddie Merlot’s restaurants and Wilfred Wong at Wine.com.
“From Canada in the north to New Zealand in the south, #MerlotMe is growing every year,” adds Bakas. “Because Merlot is one of the only grape varieties without a dedicated organization supporting it, I think #MerlotMe has tapped into a real thirst to collectively talk about this amazing grape.”