As a wine drinker, it’s highly likely you’ve at some point come across an incredible blend. But what exactly does that mean? What’s the process of making a blend, and why do winemakers choose to do it?
Understanding wine blends
Blending is at the heart of many great wines, be they from , Bordeaux, Champagne, California, South Africa or right here in Australia.
Winemakers don’t just blend grape varieties. For example, wines can also be a blend of vineyard parcels, a blend of vineyards from a single estate or contracted growers.
Why Blend Wine?
Blending wine gives the winemaker more control of certain aspects. Alongside grape variety, several factors influence blending decisions, including:
- Vineyard age
- Climate and soil type
- Picking date
- Time spent in oak, and the type of oak
Winemakers use blending to marry these elements depending on what they want.
What’s the Process?
One of the greatest tools a winemaker has is the ability to blend wines, but it requires experience and knowledge, along with a bit of trial and error.
With years of experience in blending, winemakers tend to have an idea of where to start or a stylistic approach they’re trying to achieve, especially if they’re mimicking a blend or similar style year after year.
It’s about finding the balance point. With whites, it’s all about the acid and sugar balance and getting that mouthfeel and flavour profile. With reds, it’s more about getting the tannin profile where you want it, ultimately making a wine that’s more balanced. Ultimately, a blend may utilize just two varietals, or it may incorporate percentages from six — it’s all up to the winemaker.
Undoubtably one of the most famous blends in the world would be Penfold’s Grange, with a single bottle of 1951 Grange Hermitage fetching $38,420 at auction in 2004.
If this isn’t in your price range, and let’s face it, there aren’t many of us that it would be, there is endless possibilities for picking up an amazing and delicious wine blend, such as either of our Bluegrass blends, Cabernet Merlot or Cabernet Shiraz.