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History,Petite Sirah,PS I Love You,Wine,Wine Business

The Golden Age of Petite Sirah ~ 1961 to 2011

It was in early 2002 that I first learned about Petite Sirah… I had no clue what it was, where it came from, or even where it was going. Lou Foppiano introduced me to it, when I was hired to be Foppiano Vineyards’ publicist. I worked that gig for the next seven years. I learned a whole lotta petite info in that time.

In 2003, I was hired by Lynn Kirimli, who was working for Concannon Vineyard (at the time) as their marketing director. She told me that anyone that could get that much publicity for Foppiano should also be able to do the same for Concannon, and I did.

When I took on the assignment, I didn’t realize that Concannon was the industry launcher of Petite Sirah as a variety, but Lynn quickly brought me up-to-speed on that one. What an easy message to get out there… Now it’s eight years later; and last July I pondered how many years Petite has been a variety… and then it hit me…

As of 2011, Petite has been a standalone variety for the last 50 years.

Concannon’s roots have been firmly planted as the original leader of Petite, with many others to follow. As of today, there are 761 brands that produce a Petite Sirah. That’s astounding for a variety that most people don’t know what it is, how to spell it, or where it came from… But… there obviously are also a lot of people who do, and believe in it, or these wine companies wouldn’t be bothered to produce this much Petite… A winemaker’s wine.

Petite Sirah is an affordable cult wine for some of them, and downright expensive for some of the others. Bottom line is that anyone can give Petite a go-of-it, trying some of the lighter, more affordable ones, that also will give you fewer teeth whitening dental bills, but here are others that are worth giving up a bit of enamel for the pleasures of their flavors.

A Golden Anniversary for Petite Sirah ~ 2011

While Concannon was the first to varietally Petite, Lee Stewart of Chateau Souverain released his Petite only a couple of weeks after the Concannon release. (I’ll bet that was a big “Darn,” once it was realized.) This tells me that Chateau Souverain also had a parallel plan, but they were just a millisecond late to the party for garnering the first-through-the-door distinction. In many history books, you’ll see them only listed together, but Concannon is always listed as the first one, because they got to the finish line first and foremost. (Who’s come in second at any of the Kentucky Derbies?)

POINT OF INTEREST

In the 1940s, both Larkmead and Louis Martini sold wines labeled “Durif.” Since the TTB does not yet recognize Petite Sirah and Durif as synonyms, we can’t even go there as similar varietally labeled cultivars. So, that leaves us with 50 years of this varietally labeled wine grape… Petite Sirah.

That’s news of a varietal kind. It’s a benchmark, and it proves what Jim Concannon and Lee Stewart knew all along, this wine grape has legs… As did Larkmead and Louis Martini.

ANOTHER FUN FACT:

Jim Concannon married his lovely bride Helen Concannon in 1960. One year later, they gave birth to Petite Sirah, and this is the crowning glory for what he’s leaving as a legacy to the wine industry. If François Durif is the father of Petite Sirah, Jim Concannon is surely its godfather. Last year Jim celebrated his Golden Wedding Anniversary; and this year, he celebrates another Golden Anniversary with Petite Sirah.

All of the following members of PS I Love You, who lead the wine industry with their wine marketing efforts on behalf of Petite, are delighted to celebrate their Golden Anniversary and toast to the Godfather of Petite Sirah, Jim Concannon.

  • Alger Vineyards
  • Aratas Wines
  • Artezin ~ Hess Collection
  • Aver Family Vineyard
  • Bacigalupi Vineyards
  • Ballentine Vineyards
  • Berryessa Gap Vineyards
  • Bogle Winery
  • Cecchetti Wine Company: Line 39 + Redtree
  • Charter Oak Winery
  • Christopher Creek
  • Clayhouse
  • Cleavage Creek Cellars
  • Concannon Vineyard
  • Crooked Vine | Stony Ridge
  • D.H. Gustafson Family Vineyards
  • David Fulton Winery, LLC
  • Diamond Ridge Vineyards c/o Delta Breeze
  • Edwards Vineyard & Cellars
  • Ehrenberg Cellars
  • EOS Estate Winery
  • Estrella Creek Wines
  • F. Teldeschi Winery
  • Field Stone Winery
  • Foppiano Vineyards
  • Fortress Vineyards
  • Girard Winery, LLC
  • Grizzley Republic Wines
  • Guglielmo Winery
  • Harney Lane Winery
  • Heringer Estates
  • J. Rickards Winery
  • Jazz Cellars
  • Jeffrey Miller Vineyards
  • Justice Grace Vineyards | Shoe Shine Wine
  • Kent Rasmussen Wines
  • King Andrews Vineyards
  • Langtry Estate & Vineyards
  • Lava Cap Winery
  • Line Shack Winery
  • Lodi-Woodbridge Winegrape Comm.
  • Maley Brothers Vineyards
  • Masset Winery
  • McCay Cellars
  • Mendocino Wine Company
  • Mettler Family Vineyards
  • Michael-David Vineyards
  • Miro Cellars
  • Morse Wines
  • Mounts Family Wines
  • Nottingham Cellars
  • Oak Creek Ranch Winery
  • Oakstone Winery
  • Occasio Winery
  • Page Mill Winery
  • Parducci Wine Cellars
  • Pedroncelli Winery
  • R&B Cellars
  • Ranchita Canyon Vineyard
  • RIDGE VINEYARDS
  • Ripken Vineyards & Winery
  • Robert Biale Vineyards
  • Robert Foley Wine
  • Rock Wall Wine Company
  • Rutherford Grove
  • San Francisco Wine Exchange
  • Silkwood Wines
  • Spangler Vineyards
  • Stage Left Cellars
  • Stags’ Leap Winery
  • Stanton Estate Vineyards
  • Suisun Valley Vintners and Growers Association
  • Tercero Wines
  • Tres Sabores Winery
  • True Vine Vineyards
  • Turkovitch Family Winery
  • TWG
  • Twisted Oak Winery, LLC
  • Ursa
  • Vezer Family Vineyards
  • Victor Hugo Winery
  • Vina Robles, Inc.
  • Vincent Arroyo Winery
  • Vincenza Ranch & Vineyard
  • Wilson Vineyards
  • Wine Market Council
  • Zork USA
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2 Responses to “The Golden Age of Petite Sirah ~ 1961 to 2011”

  1. anon says:

    Durif?

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