Getting gnarly with Gnarly Head 2019 Merlot


“Gnarly” grape vines produce better wine.   

Fact or fable? 

That’s a gnarly question. 


A gnarled grape vine is old. 

Those twists, turns and contortions don’t happen overnight. 

It takes decades of slow growth to achieve such gnarliness.


Many wine producers say that with age comes higher quality.

The generally-accepted belief is

that old vines yield more concentrated fruit

resulting in better wine.

Basic RGB

To make your wine shopping experience more efficient,

every week we recommend a good value wine that is

easy to find, either in-store or online. 


We call this feature Wine Thursday!   

This week, we’re featuring a sleeper.   

A gnarly merlot?

That’s inexpensive?

And good?





In the vast vineyards located near Lodi, California,

there’s row after row of twisted, misshaped grape vines.

These vines have a reputation for producing

ripe, concentrated fruit.

Gnarly Head Wines uses that fruit to produce a portfolio

of big, bold reds such as Zinfandel, Cabernet Sauvignon

and Merlot.  


The search for good wine at a good price

often leads to a disappointing dead end.

Gnarly Vines Merlot is a notable exception.     

It might be the best U.S.-produced

sub-$10 wine currently on the market. 

The major magazine, Wine Enthusiast, concurs,

naming it as one of the top ten best buys for 2021. 

At this price point, it is rare to find a red wine with

such balance and texture.   

Combine that complexity with strong dark-fruit flavors

of black cherry and boysenberry

and you wind up with an impressive package.   

What a pleasant surprise.


Speaking of surprise, here’s a suggestion.

Stage a blind tasting featuring the Gnarly Head

along with a few reds in the $30-$40 range. 

You’ll stump the crowd.   


You can find Gnarly Head 2019 Merlot at Total Wine for $7.47. 

Ralph’s has it for $8.56.  It’s at Fred Meyer for $9.99. 

You can order it from B-21 for $7.98 

It’s available from Luekens for $7.99 

Marketview Liquor sells it for $8.99 

and Vivino has it available for $9.99