Merlot finally arose from the Cabernet Sauvignon’s shadow and found the place in the prestige club of international varieties in Macedonia that was long ago deserved. In Macedonia, it started being grown in the 1950s as a quite perspective variety for the climate conditions. Nowadays, it can be found in Skopje, Kumanovo, Veles, Tikves, Ovcepole, Ohrid and Bitola wine districts.

It ripens in the second half of September in the Tikves vineyards, at least a week before Cabernet Sauvignon. The wine has got deep, ruby to dark red colour. The aroma complex is rich with plumb, blueberry, green pepper and men¬thol, as well as vanilla and chocolate. In the cooler Macedo¬nian vineyards like those in Ohrid and Bitola, Merlot makes wine with more herbal aroma while in warmer climates like in Veles and Tikves districts, the aroma of dry fruit and spices dominates. It is suitable for ripening in oak barrels that later make complex, full wines. The wine produced from grape from old plantations has greater specifications.

One of the characteristics of Merlot vari¬ety when grown in the warmer climates in Macedonia is that in short time it can over ripen just a few days after it has reached its full ripe. Some experts recommend earlier harvest to keep the level of acids and enlarge the potential for its preservation. According to others, the over ripen grape will give body and better quality of the wine.