What Happens When You Gather Masters? A Masterful Soiree

You know you’ve done something well when, at the end of an event, an attendee holds your hand for about five minutes and lists every detail of what you’ve just accomplished. At least, that’s how I felt. This particular gentleman kept telling me how proud I should be of myself, but instead I kept thinking how humbled I was by the experience.

Along with a very passionate group of attendees, when one gathers the likes of the following, it’s not about pride, really; it’s about recognizing how an event that’s called the Master (in this case of Petite Sirah) could only be so called with a stellar line up… Just like this one:

  • Patty Bogle, Bogle Vineyards & Winery
  • Jim Concannon, Concannon Vineyard
  • Winemaker Patrick Murray, Field Stone Winery
  • Louis M. Foppiano, Foppiano Vineyards
  • Brian Del Bondio, Markham Vineyards
  • Proprietor Tim Thornhill and Winemaker Bob Swain, Parducci Wine Cellars
  • Jim Pedroncelli, Pedroncelli Winery
  • Aldo Biale, Bob Biale, Dave Pramuk, and Al Perry, Robert Biale Vineyards
  • Roger Rosenblum, Rosenblum Cellars
  • Standing in for John Monnich, Winemaker Heath Hoffman, Silkwood Wines (Heath did not make the Silkwood wines, just provided service for the evening.)*
  • Winemaker Kevin Morrisey, Stags’ Leap Winery
  • Victor Trentadue and Winemaker Miro Tcholakov, Treatadue Winery
  • Vincent Arroyo, Vincent Arroyo Winery

*It’s important to note that Winemaker Heath Hoffman isn’t affiliated with Silkwood wines at all, but was available for the evening as a last minute replacement. John and Judie Monnich called to say that they couldn’t make it ~ stating, “We’re so sorry to miss this, because we know it would be the best event of the year for us!”

This was the first ever event for Petite Sirah that was created to prove age worthiness. Spawned by PSILY member Dave Pramuk of Robert Baile Vineyards who has long felt that there needed to be a vertical tasting for Petite Sirahs, and coming up with another marketing event for Petite that would transcend last February’s Dark & Delicious event in San Francisco, my partner/husband Jose combined Dave’s idea and Dan Berger’s age-worthiness concept, coining it the Masters of Petite Sirah.

Here are more images of the tasting room, before we headed off into the wine cellar for dinner with the masters.

Guitarist Alec Fuhrman

Everyone working with this project wondered if it would be worth the effort. It would be risky to create something with a higher end price tag. Could we spend over an hour tasting library wines with only a baker’s dozen? Would dinner in a wine cellar with newly released Petites and Petite Ports be scrumptious?

If those who attended had a voice, I’m betting that we could do it again tomorrow, and they’d all be there. One guest shared with me, “I’ve never seen – or had the opportunity – to taste anything like this ever before. It’s amazing!” Yes, in-deedee-deed…

Bryan Del Bondio of Markham

Sponsors for the event included Markham Vineyards, who generously hosted the tasting and dinner in their wine cellar, Brian Geagan of Canton Cooperage, who gave the group a silent auction Bordeaux barrel, and JC Cellars’ Jeff Cohn, who donated his consultancy expertise for whomever would successfully bid on and win the Bordeaux barrel for Petite Sirah making.

Knickerbockers’ Catering of St. Helena provided the scrumptious dinner and fabulous service in Markham’s wine cellar… exquisite decor, by the way.

Key note speaker was Dan Berger, who is widely recognized as a syndicated columnist, and who also publishes Vintage Experiences.

Dan was awarded a Phenomenal Service Award (inscribed purple heart) for creating the advocacy group concept back in July of 2002, “There should be an advocacy group for Petite Sirah, and it should be called PS I Love You.”

During dinner, music was provided by guitarist Alec Fuhrman. I personally got off on ABBA’s “Dancing Queen,” because I had a table guest who also was shaking her shoulders. Others,however were enjoying everything that Alec played. He was totally in tune with what we were doing.

After dinner, Trentadue and Bogle Ports were circulated by the Knickerbocker staff for all guests to enjoy… lingering with their dessert course.

As we closed down our night, here’s all we could find of the older vintages… Empties… all!

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