When I wrote Should Petite Sirah be a Rhône variety? the last thing I had on my mind was a rant. I was reacting to two private E-mails; one from a great US Petite Sirah producer and the other from a US writer, who loves Petite Sirah… one of our greatest cheerleaders. They had an Email exchange, and brought me in for my informed opinion. This happens frequently to me, because I’ve become a “go to gal” for not only the US, but also for the world; countries like:
My story was posted as a concept worth discussing on Wine Berserkers by a guy who was innocently just following up. You can imagine how I was taken aback, when an uninformed reaction happened that was way over the edge.
First, the person stated:
With the Rhone Rangers tasting in San Francisco just a month ago and Hospice du Rhône in Paso Robles coming up later this week, I thought this was a timely blog post: Should Petite Sirah be a Rhône variety? What do people here think? Should Petite Sirah b considered a Rhône variety?
The other guy’s SUBJECT: Well…..
Well…..not that I would have any opinions on the subject. Sounds like a pretty cranky rant to me. Not sure what Jo’s association with PS exactly is, but I gather he does PR work for Foppiano, a [winery] whose focus is PS.He seems to believe that since RR does not specifically promote PS (nor do they specifically promote Syrah or Mourvedre or Viognier or…), that wineries whose focus is PS should NOT join RR, but should join PSILY instead, whose focus IS to promote PS. Perhaps the could get more bang for their buck by doing that. But he seems to want RR to disbar PS, thereby forcing those PS producers from RR and into PSILY…I guess. That is, he doesn’t want PS producers in under the RR umbrella.Baloney, I say. I’m all for being inclusive. At RR, I make an effort to try a bunch of PS’s from producers I’ve not tried. If they were not under the RR umbrella, I wouldn’t get that opportunity. I’d have to say that RR has done far more towards promoting PS to me than has PSILY.So they don’t grow (much) PS/Durif in the RhoneVlly?? BFD I say. PS certainly has its roots in the Rhone and would be grown there if those Frenchies wern’t so fussy about making wines from rotted/mildewy grapes. The wusses. They grow much more Viognier in Calif than they do in the RhoneVlly. So maybe Viognier shouldn’t be considered a Rhone variety either??The blog entry strikes me as “It’s Monday…what do I write about today to get some attention out on the InterNet. I know…something to stir up some controversy.” The whole subject seems like a non-iissue. And, FWIW, it’s Billy Crawford of McDowellVllyVnyds Tom
I had earlier corrected Bill’s last name, because one of my friends left a comment, jogging my memory. After 10 years of gathering all of this information, my memory escaped me on Bill’s last name, as we’ve not communicated since 2004ish.
I tried to answer Tom, but you have to be a member of the site. So, I tried signing up, but no one got back to me to verify that I could get into the discussion. (I even tried twice, so it’s not working at this time, I’d say.)
Then, I realized that I should create my own resume about Petite Sirah, because only my family and I know what that resume would look like. there are, however, a ton of media who are very familiar… Love or hate me, they know.
So, Tom, this is for you.
- Not a cranky rant; it was a legit question, based on earlier Emails with friends in the wine business (as stated above).
- My association with PSILY is that I founded the group in 2002, for which I’ve also been the executive director since that time.
- Ten years of interfacing with a lot of Petite owners, winemakers, and viticulturists.
- “Jo” is a short version of the name Josephine. I was named for a Josephine in my family, but got the shortened version “Jo”; like the name in “Little Women,” by Louisa May Alcott.
- Not a he, Tom, I’m a she…
- Foppiano was my wine client from 2002 until 2009.
- Not helping at this time.
- I did NOT ask for a disbarment from the Rhone Rangers.
- I wrote:
- “It’s an American transplant, all the way,” the next question came… “Should someone make a formal request of the Rhône Rangers to delist it as a Rhône?” My answer was, “No, it’s got Rhône roots, it’s just not got Rhône style.”
Tom couldn’t have read the entire story…
Media endorsements say it all:
Barbara Keck ~ Sierra Foothills Wineries (2/2/12)
It’s not cricket to start a blogpost with a diversion, but I have to tell you how much I admire Jo Diaz. There’s more than one blogger with a stick up their derriere, but she is not one of them. Among other things, she is a tireless supporter of the varietal Petite Sirah, and she is simply wonderful at that.
The latest lauded Petite Sirah tasting in Alameda, “Dark & Delicious”, was by all accounts a great success….
Peter Witham ~ Wines & Vines ~ Can Pinot Gris Get a Grip on Oregon? (1/20/12)
California-based wine publicist Jo Diaz might be called the éminence Gris behind the initiative. She has spent a decade championing Petite Sirah through PS I Love You Inc., an incorporated entity that started with 10 members and claimed 90 members in its 10th year.
Rich Mauro on the People’s Palate and Gabby Gourmet~ Wine Writer (5/25/11)
Wineries up and down the state [California] now are making varietal Petite Sirah wines. And a promotional organization, P. S. I Love You (www.psiloveyou.org), which was founded in 2002 with 39 charter members, has more than doubled to 81 winery members in 2011. I think it’s fair to say that organization and its founding director, Jo Diaz deserves much of the credit for the grape’s growing popularity.
Steve McIntosh ~ Winethropology ~ How Much Does It Cost To Make A Bottle Of Wine? (12/17/10)
In 2002, the P.R. company, Diaz Communications, began their effort to resurrect Petite Sirah on behalf of the then 60 growers and producers who still stood by it. Through relentless promotion, Jo Diaz and her husband, Jose, broke through the public’s and the critics’ indifference, and put Petite Sirah back on the map.
Paul Gregutt of Seattle Times and Wine Enthusiast
Top picks for navigating the sea of wine on the Web (4/26/10) ~ Wine-blog.org. PR veteran Jo Diaz, founder of PS I Love You, which promotes petite sirah, runs this excellent blog, subtitled “Juicy Tales.” Lots of blogger interviews and commentary with a marketing focus.
Laura Ness of My Vine Space
“You’re the Princess of Petite Passion and Major Fun!”
Thanks to those who have truly been watching.