Certainly, I could also add Official Wine of Millennial American Females to this title, but the title itself would just be too darn long… I know plenty of women who also love Petite Sirah.
Petite loves that the Millennials are gravitating toward this “ain’t your papa’s Cabernet” wine. I’ve always felt the same way about Petite Sirah, or I would never have taken up the cross for this underdog variety; a variety that has carried a substantial burden of California’s wine history. Now, a new generation of daring consumer palates are coming forward… They love Petite Sirah and are happily coming out of the closet. They don’t fear their elder opinions about Cab being king. They believe Petite is the joy of the varieties as regards bold, flavorful wine. I completely agree. I love the juicy, refined flavors, too.
To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven: A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted; … A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance [another tango]
And, PS I Love You is about to start dancing again. Dark & Delicious Petite Sirah® – for the time being – has lived a complete cycle.
This DOESN’T mean that anyone else can create a Dark & Delicious Petite Sirah event. We’re registered and we have to leave the door open for a resurgence, if some brand wants to sponsor and blow new life into a similar event.
It’s great to go out as being called “the standard in varietal food and wine events,” by Kent Rosenblum. He’s been with us since Day 1, making it all happen for the last nine years. But we’ve outgrown what we can currently do. As a result, we’re morphing in a Petite Sirah educational format. Ten winemakers and vintners will host the panels discussions of their Petite Sirahs; methods and flavors… The essence of the wines. This is going to be an exclusive setting, with no more than 100 tickets being sold to the public.
Many have asked some great questions about D&D
The following will answer your questions, too. It’s one thing to say it’s over, but I can’t just walk away from these questions, without appearing to be irresponsible if answers weren’t provided. Our fans deserve to know where the bend in the road occurred.
- [Q] Is this event taking the place of the regular D&D in February? I have friends who have come out from Buffalo and Florida for past ones, and were looking forward to this year’s D&D.
- [A] D&D has had to morph.
The local health department placed rules on us last year that were (and will continue to be) so financially restrictive that it’s made it impossible to continue. It has been very rough to figure out what to do and how to do it, since last February. Our new event style is the only answer for now. (They impacted the food vendors, and we lost half of them on the day before and day of the event. One attendee accused me of being irresponsible as a result, when it was very much out of our control, and I was more disappointed than anyone else could have possibly been.)
- The tasting with winemakers is going to take it up a notch… Small groups with an array of wines to taste, how they were made, and why they taste the way they do… Followed by a meet and greet with light appetizers. I’ve done this with our winemakers around the US at wine events, and they’re always a highlight at these events. People who attend love the seminars. We’ll have a meet and greet after. No one will be disappointed. And, it’s all set for being within rules and regulations that we won’t have to struggle with.
- [A] D&D has had to morph.
- [Q] Have you guys thought about making an announcement that you are not having D&D this year then? I know several friends that spent a lot of time trying to buy tickets or figure out what was going on. And here I find the answer in a FB comment instead of on your site. I am also subscribed to your emailing list and didn’t see anything. ( Its possible I missed it I will admit) But this is still not an answer I should have to search for. Why hide the fact that you are not having it?
- [A] Yes, we have. It’s a very long story… Writing it is very difficult. How we lost half of our foodies the day before and day of the event, due to the health department’s rules and regulations, which began a tumbledown domino effect. We didn’t get our license to open the doors until 5:59 p.m., day of the event last year… One moment before opening the doors… Could we do that again?
- So many questions that we still can’t answer. We’ve been involved internally trying to recircle the wagons. We’re giving it a new shot, if wineries support us… We’re reinventing, and once we knew we can do it, we made the announcement. It appears we’re going to be able to go forward; those of us who want to morph into a new stage…
- What is Petite Sirah, why do we live it, and who we are our fans, those diehards will keep going with us, in a way that we’re protected. As a very small group, we enjoy a very faithful fan base. Going forward has been so challenging… But, we’re going to go for it. And it’s going to be awesome. Perhaps some day we can return to a D&D format, but for now, we’ve lost the resources to create it… We’ve had to re-create it. With challenge, there is growth… And it’s always better after the storm recedes.
- [Q] While the Alameda location at Rock Wall was terrific, was any thought given to moving to a different county where the restrictions would not be so onerous?
- [A] A lot of thought and research. That’s what we’ve been doing all of this time… Trying to save it. Without any positive results, we’ve had nothing we could tell anyone that would be positive and hopeful. Believe me, this has been the most challenging of the 13 years we’ve been in existence. We had to finally acquiesce… There’s no solution that works for saving PS I Love You’s D&D, because we’re such a small group. Each county has a government agency that treats all events as if we were a major corporation, instead of a non profit. If we have sit down tastings that are for educational purposes, then we fall into another category. The wineries have the licenses (last year’s $4000 tab for D&D: state, county, local authorities, which makes it prohibitive). I explained this to the official last year, that what they were asking was going to put us out of business, but they have their own protocol, with no exceptions in place yet. It was quite the saga…
- We can now begin to come up for air, because it finally occurred to us how to work within existing structures. Wineries are very happy to host us, so we’ll be moving around. The settings will be glorious, we’ll first taste through about 10 different Petites, including the one made for us called Dark & Delicious by Miro Tcholakov with some fruit also from Gustafson Vineyards, and then the informal meet and greet with light appetizers. It’s the best solution, instead of complete dissolution. Believe me, you didn’t want to be living inside of my head this past year, trying to sort it all out. Now, the storm has passed, the clouds are dissolving, and the sun is beginning to shine again. We will get through this, because PS has its loyal fans. With everyone’s help, we’ll still celebrate Petite Sirah…
- [Q] I love D&D and will miss it greatly. I understand your difficulties but maybe you can give us an idea of what obstacles you’d have to overcome? How much would ticket prices have to be raised? Could you just use food trucks?
- [A] Also thought about the food trucks. We still have to pay about $4000 in taxes, just to open the doors. This is crippling for a group as small as ours. We looked at other locations… Parking is difficult for about 800 people to find, for most wineries. If outside, we’d have to rent tents. This is very expensive. It’s all about a small production variety (only 10,000 acres in US), so it’s rare; ergo, we’re very small. We can’t put on a huge shindig without the backed up resources. They’re just not there. We’re grass roots, not like other groups… Small = small budget.
- [Q] What about Concannon?
- Concannon doesn’t have a license for these kinds of events. When they built their addition years ago, D&D was supposed to go there. Then, Livermore wouldn’t give them an event license, where large groups of people could gather. They CAN host educational ones, though. This is why our trade symposiums happened there.
These answered seemed to answer most of the questions, for full disclosure. As Kent Rosenblum said to me, “We’ve outgrown the event.” For now, we certainly have… Of the over 1,000 growers and producers, which have grown since 2002 – when only 62 growers and producers could be identified in 2002 – we can’t get over a hump for membership of about 80 brands. This means that we have to remain pretty stealth. We need a sugar daddy, in my humble opinion. Perhaps one day that will happen again. Concannon Vineyard has been a major contributor for PS I Love You through the ages, but at some point we just had to either grow up or wither on the vine. We’re working hard to keep the variety that is being referred to as the follow, by Beppi Crosariol in The Globe and Mail:
If grapes could choose their own names the way scores of Hollywood actors have done, I suspect petite sirah might have rolled with something catchier, or at least more descriptively appropriate. Like Blueberry Syrup Bomb or Tyrannosaurus Red. Or Official Wine of Millennial American Males.