Kenwood Vineyards creates its award-winning Sonoma County Merlot from vineyards located in the Sonoma, Dry Creek and Alexander Valleys. Grapes harvested in the cooler Sonoma Valley region are deep in color with intense berry flavors. Winemaker Mike Lee balances the blend with produce from the warmer Dry Creek and Alexander Valley regions, that grow fruitier, cherrier grapes. The resulting wine is ripe, supple and well-proportioned. Following a warm growing season, the Merlot crop was harvested in late September 1997. Each vineyard lot was fermented separately in stainless steel tanks and aged individually in a combination of American and French Oak barrels for 16 months. Mike Lee blended the six Sonoma County vineyards for taste and balance just prior to bottling in April 1999.