For the sixth year in a row, Louis Foppiano’s Sixth Annual Petite Sirah Symposium is about to happen in August.
If you’re a PS grower, producer, or vintner, you can register on the Foppiano home page.
Although this is NOT a media event, the symposium encourages PS passionate wine writers to notify me at firstname.lastname@example.org, and I’ll work with you to make this happen.
Annually, the Symposium addresses current issues surrounding Petite Sirah, and it’s all done in round table discussions. Why round tables?
Because every person who attends, not just the moderators of the panel, are industry experts. The brightest Petite Sirah minds come together annually, and each year the quality of Petite Sirah has elevated benchmarks (of a sort) that continue to be crafted. I say, “Of a sort,” because the one thing we’re learning about Petite Sirah is that it’s “fringe,” and nobody’s looking to take it mainstream any time soon with a seamless standard of perfection. It seems to be a winemaker’s “Pet” project, that still allows for complete creativity.
The wine companies that produce Petite Sirah are doing it out of sheer passion. No one’s told them, “Hey, it’s the next big thing.” We all know it’s not the next best thing, but we also all know that it’s as cult as cult can be… and full of artistry. That’s the draw, and why we all fit into this Petite world we’re building. For this group, it’s not about “membership.” It’s about paying homage to an American Heritage Variety.
Even if you take the biggest producer of Petite Sirah, Patty Bogle of Bogle Vineyards… Last year Patty (all by herself) donated $30,000 to UC Davis, so there would be a guaranteed Petite Sirah Heritage Clone Vineyard. She didn’t do this because it was a popular move. She did this because she’s driven by her passions.
Jim Concannon: When he’s on the road promoting Petite Sirah, Jim carries the first bottle of Petite Sirah ever produced. He scares the heck out of me, carrying it like a first born baby; so, who am I to tell him to get it under glass ASAP?
Louis Foppiano’s also been producing PS since the late 1960s, and his family’s been growing it since the late 1800’s. Every year Louis puts on the Symposium, and it’s not a money maker. It’s a learning curve opportunity, and that’s his personal draw and satisfaction.
This is an event borne out of passion; it continues out of passion, and it’s an amazing time. I organize it for Louis, and then I get the feedback, so I know what we’re doing right, and what needs to be improved each year. What’s more interesting to me is that we have a 90 percent return rate of attendees on a who’s who list that continues to grow.
This year’s agenda:
SESSION I MARKETING ~ Christian Miller, Full Glass Research ~ PS Statistical growth, where PS is headed
SESSION II MARKETING ~ Dennis Fife, Fife Vineyards ~ Petite Sirah:. Marketing cult varieties
SESSION III HERITAGE CLONE VINEYARD ~ Patty Bogle, Bogle Vineyards, Mike Anderson, Dr. James Wolpert, University of California at Davis
SESSION IV ENOLOGY ~ David Bruce, Mitri Faravashi, David Bruce Winery ~ Yeast strains: flavors imparted (tasting)
SESSION V FLAVOR OPTIONS ~ Brian Geghan, Canton Cooperage ~ Spice Rack options (tasting)
SESSION VI VIT, PART I ~ Paul Foppiano, Foppiano: Mechanical harvest ~ VIT, PART II ~ David Gates, Ridge Vineyards: Head pruned vines
BEST OF THE PETS TASTING (everyone brings his/her favorite “Pet) ~ Bill Regan, Host | Winemaker, Foppiano Vineyards
ANNUAL BAR-B-QUE LUNCH