Marilyn Merlot

No, I did not misspell “Monroe”. Marilyn Merlot is just as it sounds…a nice blend of Marilyn Monroe and Merlot wine.

One evening in 1983 over dinner and a bottle of Merlot, a small group of friends who dabbled in homemade wines, dreamed up Marilyn Merlot. In 1985, they started Marilyn Wines and gave birth to the official “legendary” wine collection…Marilyn Merlot. A moderately priced collectible wine with the breathtaking  Marilyn Monroe on the label. Each year on June 1st, in honor of Marilyn’s birthday, a new bottle is released.

A few days ago, a bottle of 2008 Marilyn Merlot was released. This is the image that graces the front of the bottle…

2008 (

While these bottles retail for around $30-40 USD when released, they quickly sell out and increase in value. I began collecting back in the late 1990’s, but have slacked off a little in recent years. The first bottle I purchased was a 1997. At the time it was around $30 from the wine department of a local grocery store. It now retails for $200 on

1997 (

I then purchased the 1996 from, which was a bit more expensive since it was older (the value has now increased to $225)…

1996 (

…And then for a few years made sure to purchase a bottle right at the time of release so I didn’t have to pay the higher prices again. To be honest, I don’t collect them for their worth, because I really don’t intend on selling them. I collect them because I adore Marilyn.

Now, I know I said I don’t collect them for their value, but guess what…the first bottle relased, from 1985, is now worth $3,800. Really any of the bottles from the 1980’s are worth over $2,000 if in perfect condition. So…you’d better get out quickly and buy a bottle…or two (one to collect and one to enjoy)!

They also produce some other Marilyn inspired lines, like Norma Jeane – A Young Merlot (which is a little more affordable and released in November), Marilyn Cabernet, Blonde de Noirs, and more.

Blonde de Noirs (



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  1. Very interesting post . Sounds like you made a good choice in collecting them . Marilyn Monroe will never go out of date ;}

    • Cate on June 5, 2010 at 9:12 pm
    • Reply

    I would really like to try the Blonde de Noirs. Any idea how it tastes? Also, it has a totally beautiful label! Maybe I should buy a bottle to drink and a bottle to collect?

    • Chuck Shaw on June 16, 2010 at 1:32 pm
    • Reply

    I’ve collected each vintage since it’s beginning in 1985. That includes Marilyn Merlot and the Norma Jeane brands. Also a few of the others. The merlot collection alone (1985 to 2008) is valued at $11,000. Norma Jeane from 1998 to 2009 is valued at $700.00. The Original 2003 Velvet in a presentation box which is no longer available is worth a couple hundred.

    • Kim on August 27, 2010 at 1:50 pm
    • Reply

    I have all Marilyn Merlots from 1994 to 2005. More recently, I have slacked off and am now looking to sell them. If you know of anyone who would be interested in purchasing the lot or individual bottles, please pass along my email address. I also have the first vintage of the Norma Jeane Merlot (1998).

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