A hybrid of merit and heritage, this newly coined term is a registered trademark for American wines blended from premium Bordeaux varietals such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Cabernet Franc. Back in the late 1980s a group of California wineries formed the Meritage Association. Its sole purpose was to establish a standard for red and white premium blends that didn't legally qualify as varietals since 75% of the wine didn't come from a single type of grape. After some successful lobbying, a patent was issued that said a Meritage wine must 1) be a blend of two or more Bordeaux grape varietals, 2) be made from the winery's finest wines, 3) be made in the United States within a U.S. appellation, and 4) be limited to 25,000 or fewer cases per vintage (which discourages the bulk-wine makers). As a result of these regulations, most Meritage wines are more expensive than other American-made blends and are usually higher in quality as well.