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Merritt Winery
by
Terry Sullivan

Merritt WinerySummary: On a sunny warm September day, we visited Merritt Winery. The dark green vineyards contrasted with the blue sky. Merritt Winery is a quiet place where wine enthusiasts can sample wines made with grapes mostly from Chautauqua County.

The winery, built by William Merritt and his son Jason Merritt, is a relatively new venture for the Merritt family. Constructed in 1976, the winery is one of the oldest in Chautauqua County. However, the estate has been in the Merritt family since the late 19th century.

Merritt WineryVineyards

The vineyards take up slightly under twenty acres of land. Mostly planted with Concord, there are also a few hundred plantings of other grape varieties that are used to make the wines. Bill mentioned that he wants to know the grapes he uses in his wines. Most of these smaller plantings of grapes do not provide enough for Merritt Winery. They source grapes from the local growers in Chautauqua County. At the time of our early September visit, the Concord and Niagara grapevines lining the driveway were nearing harvest. Inside, we met Duke a large but very calm winery dog.

Merritt WineryThe tasting room can accommodate several people at the tasting counter. The winery staff is friendly and helpful. They will certainly help customers find that perfect bottle of wine for pairing with food or for sharing on a special occasion. Wine related gifts are arranged in the retail section of the tasting room. There is plenty of variety of giftware to browse. There are a number of autographed customized celebrity wine bottles for sale and a portion goes to charity.

White Wines

We tasted several wines from a portfolio of over twenty wines. The Gewürztraminer was a light straw color and offered floral and spices on the aroma and taste. The finish reminded me of roses and citrus.

Merritt WineryRed Wines

The Winemasters Choice was a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Merlot. The ruby colored wine had dark fruits on the aroma. The taste reminded me of blackberries and black cherry. The crisp finish had tannins and the fruit yielded to oak influences. The Chautauqua Red was mostly Marechal Foch with a splash of Concord. The ruby wine had green pepper and an earthiness on the aroma. The taste offered herbs and dark fruits. There were mild tannins on the finish.

The Bella Rosa, a sweeter wine, is a best seller for the winery. It was made with Concord grapes and offered the Concord grape aroma and taste. The Bella Ice was a dessert version of the wine of the Bella Rosa. The grapes are cryogenically frozen and made into a wine. There is far less juice in frozen grapes and the juice has a higher concentration of sugar. The Bella Ice was very sweet and could replace dessert.

Merritt WineryEvents

Near the parking area there is an outdoor covered event facility. There are two festivals onsite each year. The Strawberry Festival is the second weekend in June and the Septemberfest is the weekend after Labor Day. The Septemberfest includes a weekend of fun, music, crafts, auctions and BBQ. The festivals are free and appropriate for the entire family. These events include winery tours, wine tastings, craft vendors, food and drinks.

Private events can be hosted at this winery. Many types of wedding activities take place. Onsite catering is also available. Conveniently, Merritt Winery offers full service catering.

Merritt WineryMerritt Winery participates in numerous festivals. A member of the tasting staff noted how popular their wine slushy is at these events, where they sell hundreds of glasses of these refreshing Sangria Wine Slushes.

Enjoy a day in wine country with a visit to Merritt Winery. Look for the barrel and sign along King Road.

Merritt Winery
2264 King Road
Forestville, New York 14062

GPS: N42º 29.170’ W079º 12.588’

 


 

 

 


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