Education,Event,Marketing,Petite Sirah,PS I Love You,Wine,Wine Business,Wine Education,Wine Writer

Final Thoughts on the Ninth Annual Petite Sirah Symposium, Sponsored by Concannon Vineyard

First and foremost, I have to thank Concannon Vineyard for having the foresight to keep this event going.


In 2002, there were 62 growers and producers combined. Today in 2011, I now am counting 997 growers and producers. You tell me that this annual gathering of the best and the brightest growers, producers, and marketers of Petite Sirah isn’t having an overall effect on the numbers that have mushroomed.

Yes, you can argue that we’re missing some important brands in our group; but, I would argue that I just wrote the best and the brightest growers, producers, and marketers of Petite Sirah… Not just those who know how to make a killer Petite, or those who are in the best location, or those who know how to grow it, because those are singular endeavors.

I’m talking about those who are well-rounded in their intellectual property, and know how to chew gum and tap dance at the same time, and take care of others who are also taking care of them.

We’re a tight unit that is slowly growing and having a worldwide impact.

That’s how I view the population of PS I Love You… Those who get it, give it, and make it real.

To let this momentum flounder a few years ago, which it nearly did, would have been a throw back into the days of, “There’s no publicity for this variety. It’s fallen off the face of the map.” That’s what was said by nearly everyone at the first Petite Sirah Symposium. Back then, we even had to call it the “Noble” symposium, because we were still struggling with being an orphan of the Rhone. Today, who cares any more about the “noble” adjective? No  one, and that’s great, because we’ve accomplished so much credibility that nobility is the least of our concerns… And, that’s a good thing.

And so, Concannon picked up the ball and ran with it to get out latest touchdown.

I now have the time and energy to watch and listen to the videos of each presentation. I don’t attend the symposiums, I attend to them. It’s impossible for me to do both things at the same time. I’m the troubleshooter, the expeditor, the place where the buck stops. So, I have to thank Concannon’s Damon Musha at Concannon for suggesting that we take the event live, and video it in the process. I can now attend by reviewing it all.

  1. I also have to thank Debra Charest for being my guide through the process, and being there to help with anything I needed at any turn.
  2. And Laurie Jones for keeping this going since Day 1, realizing that because Concannon was the first to varietally label Petite Sirah, they deserve to lead the industry with the latest and greatest information available on this cultivar each year.
  3. Patricia Schneider and her team for enhancing the media responses.
  4. And the guest speakers, all of whom were so informative and loaded with great ideas (Dan Berger, Ken Wilson, Brian Geagan, Clark Smith, Bob Biale, Steve Hall, and Ellen Landis.

It still takes a village to raise a child.

What I want to now touch upon are a few things that Mark Oldman had to say, our keynote speaker. I think/know that Mark is just one effulgent, shining star in the wine world. He’s been hearing what I’ve had to say about Petite for a very long time, interested in the communications, rather than tiring of them. What he said was simply amazing and a testament to all of the work that has been happening on behalf of Petite Sirah, giving me a bit of credit along the way. (That’s always so great to hear. My efforts are all worth it, because they’re satisfying some curious people. It’s great when analytical people listen, isn’t it, and can put the puzzle pieces together?)

Ideas attributed to Mark Oldman, who stated that he was honored to be before such an august group of growers, producers, marketers, and journalist on behalf of Petite Sirah.

  • A wine writer’s point of view from the East Coast, Petite Sirah has already established a terrific base, and to take it to the next level of level of recognition.
  • Mark believes that there really isn’t another variety with a singular person like Jo who works out there with media and the hub…. is a smart and intelligent person that gets it, and what you all have here is this kind of tight group based around a maverick grape.
  • Functional substitutes are the big trend out there right now.
    • People order Petite sirah because it offers value and an intriguing alternative
    • Most casual drinkers go to a wine store and see great diversity, especially on the east coast. Now it’s Greek, Oregon, Portuguese wines, also including these maverick grapes.
  • How do I cut through the clutter? PSILY has done a lot to help this maverick grape.
  • People have affection for things that cut through the clutter and are a bit innovative/alternative.
  • Mark Oldman launched his own start-up, and cut through the clutter, all the way to Morgan Stanley with a tipping point.
  • Petite Sirah is just below the level of main stream, and has the ability to resonate, but it’s not dinner conversation, yet.
  • Bold and spicy messaging we can run with, and affect the casual drinker on the east coast and tip things toward the next Pinot Noir, the heart, the affection around around PS I Love You… Think of the “Heart” in PS I Love You, and put a little heart on all of your bottles.
  • You already have Jo and you already have great traction, there are opportunities to take it a little further.
    • Play on the confusion that’s Petite Sirah.
    • Play on the pioneer grape.
    • Do a comparative tasting with Petite Sirah and Syrah… It will promote both.

From here, I’m listening to the rest of his Keynote, and leaving you to do the same, if you’re a marketer of Petite Sirah. I’ll be making recommendations to our group, you can listen and go in those directions, too; or, you can ride our coattails as we forge that path for you.

Or, better yet, join us and help us to help you sell more wine…

Watch the Video…

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