Combine all ingredients into a bowl and thoroughly whisk to blend. Marinade can be made day ahead and kept at room temperature in a sealed glass jar.
Pour marinade into a food storage bag, add the ribs and seal. Lay flat in the refrigerator for 4-6 hours turning occasionally.
Remove ribs. Discard marinade.
Pre heat oven to 300°F or put slow cooker setting on low.
In a heavy ovenproof pot, heat 2 tbsp. olive oil over medium heat.
Sear ribs one batch at a time, until browned. Remove. Reduce heat to low.
Add all vegetables, herbs, garlic, cranberries, orange zest and saute until soft.
Empty one bottle of merlot into pot. Refill bottle half way with water and pour into pot.
Bring to boil stirring up brown bits on the bottom of the pan.
Season lightly with sea salt and coarse ground pepper
Gently place ribs into the pot ensuring they are just covered with liquid.
Cover and place pot in the oven and cook for 4 hours or until fork tender
Carefully transfer mixture to slow cooker, cook on low for 6-8 hours until fork tender
Remove ribs and tent with foil.
Using slotted spoon remove fat from surface of sauce. Bring remaining sauce to a boil and reduce to thicker consistency. Pour over ribs and serve.