PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENT: Petite Sirah can only be spelled with an “i,” for those who are beginning to produce a Petite Sirah.
I can’t believe it… There are those who still insist on spelling Petite Sirah with a “y.” And, they hold a certain pride in their hearts in the process.
pride [prahyd] Show IPA
1. a high or inordinate opinion of one’s own dignity, importance, merit, or superiority, whether as cherished in the mind or as displayed in bearing, conduct, etc.
2. the state or feeling of being proud.
3. becoming or dignified sense of what is due to oneself or one’s position or character; self-respect; self-esteem.
4. pleasure or satisfaction taken in something done by or belonging to oneself or believed to reflect credit upon oneself: civic pride.
Those grandfathered in, and there are so few of them left that they’re now considered the dinosaurs, these are the ones who haven’t changed anything on their labels. The simple act of a percentage change, and the spelling with the “y” become defunct. Examples of those who had to change:
- Stags’ Leap Winery
- David Bruce
- JC Cellars
I got phone calls from a couple of them, asking me to help them. None of them enjoyed the change, but they had to conform… It’s the law. As a marketer, I love the change. It begins to clear up at least one of the confusions; i.e., what’s the difference between Petite Sirah and Petite Syrah?
And so it goes with Petite Sirah. Putting out Petite Sirah materials with the “y” is just a misspelling. If you read Petite Sirah with a “y” anywhere, that company is either grandfathered into the spelling (on their own labels), or misspelling it, if it’s in marketing materials… Purely and simply misspelling it. I should talk. I just spelled Behemoth with a “u” in the title (after looking it up – shoulda taken the dictionary version… And, I know the difference between desert and dessert. I’ve even remembered the following to make sure I don’t flub, but I still do when I’m rushing and not checking:
- If it’s with two s’es, I love a second helping of “dessert.” Two slices of dessert can be loads of fun, if I’ve not eaten anything that day.
- But, one slice of the desert is enough for me, at a time. (The heat is too much.)
We all misspell, so I’m not going in with a red pen; however, I do offer the following TTB link, which is a list of approved varieties that you’ll fInd on a label. Anything else won’t be approved. It’s that rudimentary and bureaucratic.
- Petit Bouschet
- Petit Manseng
- Petit Verdot
- Petite Sirah (Durif)
Spelling it with a “y” was good enough, about five years ago; but, once the TTB got sick and tired of the confusion, they passed a ruling that it would no longer be accepted as a label approved spelling.
Petite Sirah has a synonym, and it’s Durif. Otherwise, spelling it correctly helps consumers, writers, wine shop owners, and even wholesales – all confused – begin to understand what this delicious grape is all about.