By the fifth “fabulous,” I said, “That’s the fifth time I’ve heard that specific word to describe tonight,” to which Steve Heringer said to me, “Well, think of the other 500 you didn’t hear.”

I’ve been all around the US working events, so I’ve been able to take what seems to work well and run with it… Also avoiding what seems to not work well.

Dark & Delicious is committed to high quality wines, primarily poured by winery principals, amazing food vendors that bring diverse samplings, and very – did I mention “very?” – passionate people who come for the experience.

It’s an amazing thing.

This year was also sold out – about two weeks before the event – and I spent those two weeks prior to Dark & Delicious, explaining to everyone who didn’t buy tickets in time, that we had fire code issues that must be strictly followed. I heard every excuse imaginable – shy of “my dog ate the tickets” – from people who wanted – nay needed – to be the exception.

At points along the way I felt I could write a parallel universe “How do I love thee, let me NOT count the ways.” This is not because I didn’t have empathy for those who wanted to return from last year. It was exactly because I did feel for those who were part of a great experience the year before, were eager to return, and the missing link was procrastination, for which I could do nothing.

All this for a wine event? Yup…

People are passionate about Petite. It’s a phenomenon that’s a cult experience, known to those who have crossed the line from ordinary to extraordinary. If that seems distorted to you, then ask yourself, “Why do so many wineries produce Petite Sirah in the US, when there are only 6,000 acres here, and only another 1,000 planted in other locations around the world?” (US has 425 label brands for which I have documentation.)

This is obviously winemakers’ “Pet” project. About 80 percent of these wineries only produce 300 cases a year, with the other 20 percent being the larger wineries like Bogle, Concannon, Foppiano, Parducci, and Rosenblum (for example) producing the higher numbers (and lots of guys in between with a few thousand cases, too).

This is a “many are called, few are chosen happenstance,” and that’s not going to change any time soon. It all has to do with commitment… Not biting off more than one can chew, etc.

It’s such a “Pet” project that I’ve already got Marr Cellars signed up for next year, and I’m still not recovered from this year, nor have I put out a sign-up form. That said, I guess we’re on our way.

Next year is scheduled to be held at Concannon Vineyard. It would have been there this year, but construction was running behind schedule – as sometimes happens. Concannon’s just completing a $25 million wine cellar, so room won’t be an issue. What will be, though, is quality over quantity, which means I’m still going to have to go through the “I’m really sorry” conversations that can’t be avoided… Unless I go to Hawaii the week before the event. Now, there’s a great idea! I’m not even going to say which island!

Enjoy the show!

See you next year!