Vincent Arroyo Winery

When PS I Love You began, Vincent Arroyo immediately became a member. He knew that this would be one of his best investments, because he’s defined by his Petite Sirah, as is this group. It’s seven years later, and he’s still true to the group, because he realizes that PSILY continues to honor the mission of its members:  to educate and inform trade, media, and consumers about Petite Sirah. PSILY is only capable of doing this because it has the support of its membership.

Vincent Arroyo B-B-Q area

The advances in Petite Sirah’s public awareness can be 95 percent attributed to this membership. While 95 percent might seem like a huge number, consider something I once heard and completely believe.

The power of a message is as powerful as the number supporting that message, squared. If you are one person, your message is the power of one. If you are two people, it’s 2 X 2 = 4 people. Consider 70 people, the membership of PSILY. Then, it’s the power of 70 x 70 = 4,900 people.

You can also consider that when PSILY started, I only knew of 60 growers and producers combined in 2002. Today, I know of 121 growers and 620 producers (some of them have multiple labels and price point categories, which puts even more bottles on the shelves). That’s a total of 741 growers and producers combined in 2009Just seven years later.

Vincent Arroyo picnic area with olive trees in the background.

Tell me something powerful isn’t going on behind the scenes.

So there you are, all of it being made possible by the wine industry’s leaders, active and quiet alike, not interested in riding the coat tails of a movement, but leading it by guiding it… Since the beginning, Vincent Arroyo and his family have been part of that group movement.

Vince’s son-in-law, Matt Moye, is the next generation to carry the passionate PS torch. When there’s passion, it’s just hard to disguise, and – honestly – Matt doesn’t even try to hide it. Vince got really lucky when Matt came into his family’s life. Matt, too, is completely thrilled to be producing Petite.

I want this license plate!

According to the Vincent Arroyo Website:

The wines produced at the Vincent Arroyo Winery have put a star on many Napa Valley maps as a place that shouldn’t be missed. His signature wine, still Petite Sirah, has become so popular that it often sells out before it is bottled every year. Once you have tasted the wines, you’ll know why.

Why, then, do Vince and Matt support PSILY when they sell out each year? Surely they shouldn’t need to, and could just ride the wave?

Vincent Arroyo family enjoying the day.

Well, not really… Every single member is needed, because that’s how public awareness continues to grow, and will continue to add to his own fan base. A data base is only as good as it’s daily updating. New members are needed, as older members of it go through their own life changes. Current fans also support other Vincent Arroyo wines, because quality is quality, after all. That kind of loyalty continues to support all of his business, guaranteeing Vincent Arroyo’s future.

When you visit Vincent Arroyo Winery, you’re made to feel completely welcome. There are no pillars of pretension, just old school, farm ethics. When my niece and nephew from Maine (Sara and Andrew Helman) arrived at Vincent Arroyo, as we were touring Napa Valley, Sara commented, “This is like visiting a farm.” Well, there you go… It is visiting a farm, something very few people ever come to realize, if they don’t get off the beaten path. And in this case, it’s a wine grape and olive oil growing farm. It was an important aspect of the wine industry that Sara caught on this day trip, and a very important nugget of truth to be learning by anyone. It puts the wine business into perfect perspective.

Working the vineyard, off in the distance.

Off in the distance, workers were in the vineyard, while the family was gathered around their front yard, taking in the beauty of the day. They were quietly cordial to their visitors, for which there were many, not just my family and me. The staff also enjoyed having Spike the Dog visiting, although Spike had his moments of being concerned about being in a strange place, but warmed up given time to relax. Meanwhile, JJ the Lab had been removed to the house, because the old girl’s a bit territorial (as she should be). Their chocolate Lab, Bodega, meanwhile, was happy to have Spike as a bit of a diversion from people milling around.

L to R: Stephanie Gernert, Andrew and Sara Helman.

We tasted new releases, and were also taken into their barrel room to enjoy barrel samples. As expected, the wines were superlative. While we were tasting, Vince and Matt came around the corner… Everyone was checking in and making sure that our day was perfect. That’s just good business, but completely unexpected, because I was having a quiet day of touring and enjoying the way any wine consumer does. Vince spotted Spike, and said, “We’re dog friendly, just the dogs aren’t friendly.” (It wasn’t that bad at all, because we had escaped JJ, with Spike in tow. Given advance warning, dogs are allowed to follow their pet owners. Call: 707.942.6995)

Our tasting guide for the day was Stephanie Gernert, a perfect compliment to the family story and their wines. My daughter Lyla and her dog Spike were also with us for the day.

  • Stephanie treated us to the 2005 Vincent Arroyo Chardonnay, Napa Valley, from their library. It’s was a beautiful wine that was rich and well rounded, with bright tropical fruit (pineapple and kiwi) and showed a perfect balance. While it wasn’t as bright as a newly released wine, it held a maturity that was delicious to enjoy. As I raised my glass of this Chardonnay, I hit my earring, and the sound of that ding echoed and lingered in my ear long enough to add another sense to the tasting of this wine. 90 Points
  • We tasted the 2008 Petite Sirah, Napa Valley, from the barrel. It had a intensely complex nose, with a deep, inky garnet color, and proved to be a powerfully rich, dark fruity wine, still having very tight tannins,  as you’d expect ~ as this is still a very young wine. We collectively loved it.

L to R cousins: Lyla Diaz, Andrew Helman, Sara Helman

Andrew and Sara were turned onto the 2007 Petite Sirah Port. What a luscious wine, four paws up on that one! It was liquid candy that tasted like Oh Baby, Baby strawberry chocolate.

For anyone serious about Petite Sirah, this is a winery so worth visiting. You won’t be disappointed and will enjoy that down-home feel. Taste the wines, taste the olive oils, and enjoy the natural ambiance of a working farm. Maybe you’ll also get a glimpse of the legend himself, Mr. Vincent Arroyo.

  • 48 hours with Vincent Arroyo Petite Sirah 2002 (