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Marketing,Movie,Petite Sirah,PS I Love You,Public Relations,Wine,Wine Business,Winery

True Grit ~ Weighing In on A Publicist’s Tie-In

from The Challenge of Ideas (1961)
Image via Wikipedia

In 2005, as I was trying to better explain what Petite Sirah is, I thought that it would be a great idea to tie it to something we could all relate to, and to an all-American legend, in order to really drive the point home.

So, I tied it to John Wayne. I could just envision the full bodied swagger of that rough and tumble cowboy, who – underneath it all – was much beloved and respected as a performer.

Parducci Winery was smart enough to tie it into a new Petite they’d create, befitting of that concept; hence, True Grit.

They’ve also been smart enough to tie their True Grit into Hollywood’s new rendition of the movie True Grit, by pouring their wine at the movie’s release parties.

Parducci Uncorks Its True Grit, Wine Spectator, by Lynn Alley

[Proprietor Tim] “Thornhill said… The wine got its name several years ago when a publicist who was barrel tasting at Parducci quipped that the gutsy wine was a real “John Wayne among reds.”

Yes, I am the publicist…

What I wrote, to make my own point that Petite Sirah is The John Wayne of Grapes, in 2005, which was sent to my wine writer data base and to all the members of PS I Love You at the time, for which Parducci was, and still is, a member:

The John Wayne of Grapes, Our All-American Legend

Imagine, if you will, being plucked from your homeland shortly after being born. (Some would argue that you were ostracized.) You’re brought to the Atlantic, where you board a steamship headed for America. You land in New York, are put onto the next train headed to California, and you never look back. You’re Durif, about to morph into Petite Sirah, the All-American variety.

According to wine industry historian Charles Sullivan, Charles McIver of Linda Vista Vineyards (Mission San Jose) imported Durif to the U.S. in 1884, and coined it “Petite Sirah.” Affection? Size of the grape? Couldn’t pronounce “Durif?” Just didn’t want the father’s name to be dropped forever because it would make it harder to tell the story? Who knows… That’s lost forever, and continues the mystery of our legend.

What McIver is responsible for is that he brought the “Wild West” its greatest “Wild Child.” And, like so many others that have made the arduous, culture-shock journey, this is where it ultimately has flourished. Petite Sirah has been fully allowed to express all of its capabilities; not encumbered by what being of mixed lineage would have imposed upon its nature in France. Labeled in France as a misfit, Petite Sirah has solidly proven itself to be “The stuff that men are made of:” Durable, strength of intensity, and the ability to weather any challenge.

Although its grapes are petite, don’t be fooled. This burly, manly wine has been able to completely express its concentration of color, flavors, textures, and tannins in ways that could only be imagined in its own homeland.

The American Legend… Petite Sirah.

It takes true grit to get it, this Petite Sirah. It’s not for fainting ladies. It’s not for the White Zinfandel crowd. It’s for the cowboy or cowgirl in all of us. Fasten up your spurs, Partnah; we’re headed for a ride!

Did you know…

  • Petite Sirah survived phylloxera.
  • It was one of the wine grapes that home winemakers were being allowed to make and drink during Prohibition.
  • It was the dried grapes that were being shipped back east as raisins (for reconstituting).
  • And, it was the grape that Napa Valley was planted to by 60 percent in the 1960s.

Petite Sirah, Our All-American Legend!

And now Hollywood gets it. Did you see the movie “The Kids Are Alright?”

Here’s a review by Kristin Lin in the Fort Worth Weekly.

More Thoughts on “The Kids Are All Right”

2) During the incredibly awkward lunch where Nic and Jules meet Paul, he brings over a bottle of 1986 Petite Syrah to go with hot dogs. It’s not clear if he knows in advance what they’re serving. Even though Nic doesn’t like Paul, she still pronounces his wine “excellent.”

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9 Responses to “True Grit ~ Weighing In on A Publicist’s Tie-In”

  1. lynn says:

    Good call, Jo. My father’s friend recounts stories of pulling Zin off of the trains in downtown Oakland as a kid during Prohibition to make wine at home, but I know PS was right up there with it!

  2. Jo Diaz says:

    Thanks, Lynn ;^)

    Given your research history with Dr. Harold Olmo, you’d be my back up on this info, if I ever needed a knowledgeable resource!

  3. Sondra says:

    Great story, Jo and when I looked again at the portrait of True Grit, it looks just like I would expect a gutsy wine of the stuff men are made of….

  4. Jan Mettler says:

    Here’s an update Jo,

    Not only did Parducci pour their True Grit at the cast screening at the Academy Theater (where the big gold Oscar statues live), the tie-in continues to ride. Viewing the wine as an iconic symbol of the movie, Paramount purchased several cases of the wine to send to their own media contacts. And the wine was such a hit at the screening that Paramount’s marketing division purchased another 175 bottles to give to their staff for holiday gifts!

    As we head into award season, we are continuing to mine the tie-in opportunities. Anyone who has seen the movie knows there are Oscar-worthy performances, directing and cinematography. And the wine is as bold and memorable as the Coen brothers’ movie.

  5. lynn says:

    Nice work, Jan. And Jo, I’ve seen some cards from an old survey done of Napa Valley growers in 1950 among HPO’s stuff that lists the varietals and acreage that each was growing. I’ll go back and look. I know I saw a lot of PS there.

  6. Jo Diaz says:

    Jan,

    It’s an amazing thing to watch… When I came up with the True Grit… John Wayne concept, all the members of PS I Love You were made aware of my thinking. Any one of them could have run with the marketing concept (I give my guys a lot of marketing concepts, because that’s what I do all day long.). Parducci was smart enough to take a good idea and run with it. Congratulations to them for all of their success with this one!

  7. Jo Diaz says:

    Sondra, Thanks. It does all make sense, doesn’t it? You’d know, having just come off some pretty intense Petite Sirah tastings with the Wine Wench, Chang Liow MS, Jose, and me… It’s definitely a gutsy wine.

  8. Vinogirl says:

    Great stuff!!!!
    And a Happy New Year!

  9. Jo Diaz says:

    Thanks, Alana, and you’ll be tasting at Dark & Delicious on February 18!

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