As a home winemaker, I try to focus on one varietal per year. This allows me to do the harvest, crush, press and all associated cleaning only ONCE per year in the fall. But it does limit my blending abilities only getting one varietal.

I currently have ~50gal of 2018 Merlot, and am considering either (a) bottling it as is soon or (b) getting ~50gal of Cab this fall and blending it all 50/50 next summer ... 🤔

I found this article by Ed Kraus:

Blend wines that are from the same year. Blending wines from different years, in general, does not work as well. Wines blended from different years seem to have more instances of precipitation. These types of blends also seem to pull the older vintage back to a youthful harshness even though it might have been almost at its ultimate age for consumption.

Is it bad to do blending of wine in two consecutive years like this? Is one year ok? Anybody with experience with this? How did the wine turn out?


2 Answers 2


I've not blended wines from different years, but it's done in the Port and Champagne wine making realms. Solera is usually done on Madeira, Port and Sherry where they blend wines from different years. They also do it in Champagne for NV (Non Vintage) type of wines. I would say go for it if the result is better than the single vintages. Blend some and keep some unblended. I would do it very close to the end of the fermentation process of the 2nd year so the difference in age between the two is the smallest.


There is a difference between blending and racking. What we call racking as home winemakers is not the same thing as racking for producers of wine. Producers of wine that blend their wines put the newest casks on the top of a rack, and each row below is older by a given period.

As the wine at the lowest rung is drawn off for bottling, what was taken from that cask is replaced by wine from the cask above it, which in turn is then replaced with the wine above that so that newer wine is blended with older wine, which produces a fairly consistent product from one year to the next (but not necessarily across spans of years). This is what racking really is, and it's where we get the name for what we do, but what we are doing as home wine makers or craft producers is really just syphoning into an empty container. Racking is a system of incremental blending of this year's wine with last years wine.

This is different than blending wine, which is to take wine of various opposing but complementing characteristics and blending them to produce a combined better product that suits a wider range of palletes.

if you blend old wine with new, the old wine will have acids broken down and greater longer chains of complex carbohydrates will have developed out of what was not fermented. If you add a new wine to this old wine, it is quite possible the fresh acidity will break the old wine similar to how a roux gravy can be broken, and cause it to precipitate that which was otherwise stable.

It doesn't always happen, it just can happen. It also hardly ever improves either wine because the wine's chemistries are different. Old wine and new wine are not so very alike.

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