Dark & Delicious™,Event,Food & Wine,Petite Sirah,PS I Love You,Wine

Now That I’ve Recovered From Dark & Delicious

I wish there was a support group for people who put on wine festivals, just so we could embrace each other for a few days after an event. There’s nothing more physically or mentally exhausting that putting on an event.

It doesn’t matter what the event is… from the days when I used to organize Androscoggin Day Camp for Girl Scouts in Sabattus, Maine, to my Petite Sirah Symposiums, to Dark & Delicious… The behind the scenes details right to the day of the event and seeing so many smiling faces…There’s a real adrenaline rush that happens from the moment we begin to pack the truck at the office, unpacking it in Alameda with our Work-4-Wine partners who help set it up, seeing all the winery and foodies arriving and setting up, and then the flood of consumers arriving… All happy, smiling faces.

This was captured by a wine writer who connected with one of the PSILY members, and she shared his thoughts with me. He captured it so perfectly!

If turnout is any indication, I think Petite Sirah production will have to get back to the 1970s numbers – the place was not easy to find, the weather was abysmal, tickets cost $63, yet the place was absolutely packed! I would estimate between 800 – 1000 people participated. And of the many wine tasting events I’ve attended, this group seemed more enthusiastic than any I’ve seen. And it wasn’t a “drunk-fest”, rather oenophiles whom seemed to know what they were looking for, enjoying and analyzing.


Alana Gentry, Girl With a Glass shares her fave food & wine experience:

This is one reason Dark & Delicious is my favorite event of the year, every vintner is paired with a food station, the way I think all tastings should be. One of the best pairings this year was BBQ pulled pork on a rice crisp with micro-greens by DK Catering. I did not expect the rice crisp to work but it was the true genius of the pairing. Another surprise winner was a special paella from Venga Paella Catering paired with Berryessa Gap’s field blend with 86% Durif (Petite Sirah’s other name). The winemaker [Mike Anderson] is a UC Davis researcher who believes strongly that it’s all about terroir so he does very little “tinkering” to make signature and expressive wines. Berryessa Gap also advocates pairing food with Petite and has an annual Paella party in May.

William Allen’s Simple Hedonisms Goes Dark & Delicious:

Guest post by Steven Washuta, of Terroirist blog. Steven is a recent addition to Sonoma County, and Assistant Winemaker at Old World Winery. I was not able to attend this event due to 3 conflicting events invited to, Steven was able to provide air support. Lets hope he writes again!

Petite Sirah Comes onto My Radar

Some Personal Favorites: As I wandered the aisles for any wine that caught my eye I found a few winners along the way… Come for the Food

Socially Superlative

Last Friday, the quiet outer reaches of the East Bay’s quaintest town, Alameda, rolled up its carpets and tipped its glasses for Dark & Delicious, a celebration of Petite Sirah and all of its devoted admirers… Though the cold, rainy evening was another sort of D & D (mainly, dark and damp), the event’s turnout was vast, and spirits were certainly high. Gathered under the cavernous warehouse of the Rock Wall Wine Company, the event drew hundreds of aficionados and curious novices alike, to taste their way through a veritable carnival of flavors—all showcasing the nuanced and charming character of Petite Sirah.

To compliment the heady delight of the wine (and to aid in the swooning of the foodie side of most winos), incredible food pairings were offered, showcasing the versatility of the wine and the culinary mastery of its devotees. Sponsored by The National Pork Board, it was a veritable “pig heaven” of everything from rich, fragrant paella and succulent pork tacos slathered with caramelized Petite Sirah, to wine-infused truffles and out-of-control gourmet fudge.

From Thea Dwell’s Luscious Lushes:

D&D ain’t just for freaks and geeks anymore!

D&D. Those two letters evoke so many memories for those of us who grew up in the time of TRON, Atari, and The Dukes of Hazard. You remember D&D, right? Yes, that that obnoxious role playing game with pewter dragons and triangular playing boards in the 70s and 80s? Yes, I mean Dungeons & Dragons, the full time obsession of most of my male contemporaries for the better part of 10 years.

FORTUNATELY, I am NOT actually referring to the Freaks & Geeks Game of Champions in this post. The D&D I speak of is the penultimate event for Petite Sirah lovers, hosted by P.S. I Love You, the trade organization dedicated to furthering the adventures of Petite Sirah producers and lovers.

Steve Heimoff in his Doing the right thing story:

So I’m appealing to the Petite Sirah producers who don’t support P.S.I.L.Y.–the same producers I give high scores to (and believe me, I could name names). In the name of fairness, and for your own benefit, join this organization that’s done so much to help you. It’s the right thing to do. It will help boost Petite Sirah even further into the limelight, and I can guarantee you that it would make Dark & Delicious absolutely one of the premier wine events of the year in California.

Here are my own thoughts:

We had 800 people. We (PS I Love You and Diaz Communications) were again thrilled with the Fifth Annual D&D 2011. The reasons are simple:

  • Fifth consecutive sellout.
  • The wineries are eclectic and offer great old friends, while we continue to have new companies join us. Each year we have most of them return, and new ones always come on board. Our first event had 20 wineries. Five years later, we were fifty strong.
  • The quality of the food (restaurants and caterers) is amazing, with many reviewers saying that it’s unparalleled for the wine AND excellent foods. The first year we had 15 foodies, this year we had 30.
  • My Work-4-Wine crew can’t wait for 2012… We worked them hard and they can’t wait to return? Hum…
  • LASTLY: It’s always been about the quality, not the quantity. This event is not for fainting ladies.

I love that we’re fringe, maybe that’s why it continues to live on the edge. The people who have found us aren’t looking for a Napa-style experience. D&D is an event where people relax, have fun, and there’s a core who return to see each other every year… We have a WineWoot group who begins talking about it among themselves by late October, early November. They’re hard core and lots of fun. It’s growing that way. I have one guy who has come up from LA each year. This year he asked me what it would take to be a volunteer (Work-4-Wine partners). He’s on the list. He wants to be that much a part of it… as an insider. That’s a success for me.

I believe that we have something very special going on in a very artisan location (Rock Wall Wine Company). We draw the unique, not the masses…and it’s a kick.

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