Here I sit, barely able to think, because the Ninth Annual Petite Sirah Symposium and Tribute Dinner to Jim Concannon has just concluded, and I’m now in the throes of planning a picnic for about 60 Petite Sirah fans for this coming weekend.

It’s going to be at Kent Rosenblum’s Lone Oak Vineyard, in Russian River Valley. Together the Rosenblums and PSILY are going to be wining and dining our advocates and some of the volunteers from Dark & Delicious. My daughter Katie and grandsons are coming in from North Carolina. Kate’s our food liaison for Dark & Delicious, so it all makes sense to have some of her time going in that direction. (It’s also her birthday, so her trip is my gift to her.)

And, what’s really going on in the blog story, besides setting this stage for you, is the man behind this event. He’s Kent Rosenblum, and he happens to be one of the most genius wine marketing people in my present world, who’s just quietly getting it done. A lot of you guys in the wine business, by the way, should borrow a page from his playbook, if you’re really trying to understand the mechanics of marketing.

First of all, and his reason for success, is that Kent is one of the kindest and gentlest men that I know. Heck, he’s a veterinarian (any man who loves animals is great in my book). Besides being a vet, he’s also a full-time winemaker, winery owner, entrepreneurial leader with micro wineries that he guides, he’s leading his daughter Shauna to take over, a partner in many, many businesses, and a devoted husband. He’s brilliant, and he was the first winery owner to throw himself into PS I Love You without batting an eyelash, or having any angst about a marketing group and questioning if I could actually pull it all off.

Why, because he understands marketing better than most other people I know. I once read that the power of one is just that; one to the first power. One squared equals one. But, two squared is four. Four squared is 16… So, we’re nearly 100 players in the PS I Love You group right now, and that makes us 100 times 100 strong, which equals 10,000. That’s why I can ask anyone in the world a question about Petite Sirah and get an answer. It’s also why anyone in the world with a question comes to me, too. It’s that powerful, and it took my amaZIN  Kent Rosenblum to believe in me, giving me hope and free reign.

Now, it’s almost 10 years later and we’re going to be cooking up a storm this coming weekend for Petite Sirah devotees.

I told Kent that I’d be bringing salads, all the paper products, glasses for wine and four cases of wine from the members, water, desserts, and trash bags. I also told him I’d bring pizza toppings, because he’s making pizzas as an appetizer, then he’s cooking tri-tips for everyone; all this, plus his property for the day.

He wrote back:

I’ll have the dough, sauce, and many toppings for the pizza. Please bring what you have in that dept. I’ll bring the tri-tips and it sounds like you have the rest. We have a bumper crop of spaghetti squash up at the vineyard, so I may roast a few of those in the Pizza oven also. We’ll have a few additional cases of Petite available for consuming.

His generosity is never ending. He gives us a sweetheart of a deal, when we rent his facility for Dark & Delicious. I couldn’t pull off that event without his help. Kent keeps PS I Love You floating in ways that no one else could possibly understand. He’s one of our true unsung heroes and one amaZIN man, given that he helped to launch Zinfandel through ZAP in much the same way that he’s helped with PS I Love You.

I can only imagine what it would be like if we had a handful of people who get marketing the way that Kent Rosenblum understands it. Oh, the things that we could do….

Steve Hiemoff wrote, after having attended Dark & Delicious last year…

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.

Without Kent Rosenblum (and Concannon Vineyard, our other major sponsor), I can’t imagine what would happen to PSILY… But with a few more serious contributors? I’m reminded of a Dr. Seuss’ book, “Oh, the wonderful things Mr. Brown can do; Mr. Brown can moo, can you?”

Thanks, Kent for always being there, as we slowly grow this thing called Petite Passion.

In 2002, when we began, there were 62 growers and producers combined. Today, there are 161 growers and 833 producers… You guys can all thank Kent (and Concannon) for knowing that Petite Sirah sales could grow substantially over the years… And, it’s not anywhere near peaking.

Here’s to all of you who grow it, write about it, and love it.

Meanwhile, R.I.P Pupper. It was great swimming with you over the 4th of July weekend. While we knew that you had chemo treatments coming up, we didn’t know that you’d be so quick to leave us. No one would have ever known that while Ann and I swam, and you chased the ball that Jose was throwing to you, you weren’t long to be with us. You’re be sorely missed.

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