Cab with merlot and cab franc blend advice

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Senior Member
Aug 26, 2015
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I will have 4 lugs of cabernet,1 Merlot and 1 cab franc. I am struggling with how to do this. Meaning do i just put it all together as a field blend or ferment them separately and then blend. Or a combination of both. My ultimate goal was to have a Cabernet with a little merlot and some cab franc.

Just curious what you all have done or would do.
I have done it both ways and there are advantages to both. If you leave them separate, then at the end you can decide you want different amounts (less or more of the cab franc and Merlot). If you mix ahead of time, you are stuck with what you got.

But, if you leave them seperate, you now have to deal with 3 carboys, instead of 1.
I think the more scientific way to approach it would be to run them all separately. That way, you'd be able to taste them all individually, judge their potential contribution, and blend as desired. Then again, some people like to live on the wild side and field blend. I don't think the grapes care, so it's really a matter of how you want to approach it. If it were hybrids - new grapes, new formulas, new flavors, I'd be more inclined to do them separately and blend later, just because doing so would help control some of the unknown factors. But your 3 grapes are very frequent bedfellows, especially in Bordeaux, so you know they'll play nicely together, which supports the case for field blending. On the other hand, I remember reading somewhere that grapes that are high in flavor/color but low in tannin can be stabilized by co-fermenting with another grape that is higher in tannins. (Idea being that tannins from Grape B help polymerize the anthocyanins in Grape A). Which means that a field blend can sometimes be more than the sum of its parts.
If it were me, since I'm dealing with 14 or so total gallons (10 gallon Cab, 2 gallon Merlot, 2 gallon CF), I'd field blend them all. I don't think you can go wrong with and % differences between the wine. Meaning any combination would not be better or worse, just different based on the % of each.
Much like the others have said, I’d field blend. I feel like managing 2gal of Merlot and 2gal of CF would be more work than it’s worth.
Thank you all, you have convinced me(what I already wanted to do) field blend it is. It’s hard for me to manage three separate fermentations and then pressing and storing everything separately. Thanks!

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