Petite Sirah,Wine

It might help to spell Syrah correctly

I got a terse and fascinating Email, which was sent after we had put out an announcement about a Petite Sirah event we annually organize,  direct, and produce.

Nothing more was said than, “It might help to spell Syrah correctly”

Jose forwarded it to me and chuckled. I read it and said, “What? Forward that to me right now.” I was in bed and had turned in for the night, but this one hit a high C chord.

I raced to my computer and waited for his E-Mail to arrive. It finally did. I began:

Dear Terry,

Regarding, “It might help to spell Syrah right.”

This is a true teachable moment. Thanks for the opportunity.

I’ve been working and marketing on behalf of Petite Sirah since 2002, and I’m happy to help you out. I created the group of PS I Love You, and am still the executive director: http://www.psiloveyou.org/ We’re dedicated to education, and as I said… this is a true teachable moment.

You did spell Syrah correctly. Now, I’m going to help you with Petite Sirah

There were a few vintners years ago who confused the matter; however, the ABC has changed all of that, by ruling that there is only one spelling of Petite Sirah, to stop the educational confusion of the two grape varieties.

If any wine brand now wants to release a Petite Sirah, it must be only spelled with an “i,” not the “y.”

Syrah is Syrah.

Petite Sirah is Petite Sirah, and you will only find it with a “y” in media misspellings of the word and a few older vintages of Stags’ Leap Winery, David Bruce, Jeff Cohn’s wine, etc.

Taking from Wiki: Petite Sirah and Petite Syrah

Petite Sirah is sometimes mistakenly spelled “Petite Syrah,” which has historically referred to a small berried clone of the Syrah grape by Rhône growers.[14] In California, immigrant vine growers introduced Syrah in 1878 and used the phrase “Petite Syrah” to refer to the lower yields that the vines then were producing in California. Actual Petite Sirah (Durif) was then introduced in 1884.[1]

On my wine blog: Petite Sirah + Syrah = Correct Spellings

Francois Durif crossed Syrah with Peloursin, and called it Durif. Charles McIver went to Montpelier, France, brought it back in 1887, and named it Petite Sirah.

In the early 2000s… like maybe 2006 or 2007(?), the ABC made its ruling of no more  Y’s.

If you go back and look at old Stags’ Leap bottles you’ll find it with the “y.” Carl Doumani told me he “just felt like it.”… Now look at their younger vintages.


Attending Dark & Delicious will also help you to see what it’s all about… on all of the labels. If it’s with a “y,” it got past a sleeping label approval at the ABC.

Best regards,


IRONY: This person has attended Dark & Delicious; but, still can’t spell it, because it was all about drinking not learning. The most fascinating part is that Terry decided to call us out for being ignorant.

Wonders Never Cease

We can’t always be right, me above all else. I’m clear that I’m here to learn, from my mistakes and otherwise. Humility over humiliation is always a great emotionally intelligent response. It lets the other person know that we appreciate the head’s up, and we fix the problem(s). Messages that disturb us are always our teachable moments.

GOOD PR: Take the time to thank someone.

BAD PR: Slink away.


5 Responses to “It might help to spell Syrah correctly”

  1. Jon Bjork says:

    I still believe you need your own private Kraken.

  2. Andy Perdue says:

    Jo, this reminds me of an angry email I received years ago from a reader accusing me of spelling “Okanagan Valley” incorrectly.

    In Washington state, the city, county, river and valley are spelled “Okanogan.” Cross the border into Canada, and the river, lake, valley and wine region are spelled “Okanagan.”

    The reader was from Washington, was used to the Washington spelling and was certain I’d spelled it wrong when I was referring to the British Columbia wine region.

    Like you, I provided a gentle lesson on the regional spelling differences. I never heard back.

  3. This just proves the importance of looking stuff up in dictionaries, etc. It’s called fact-checking, and the guy who criticized you, Jo, didn’t do that!

  4. Jo Diaz says:

    Exactly, Steve. He knew it all, not…

  5. Jo Diaz says:

    I’m laughing, Andy. Every one of my experiences of being criticized when I was right, the person just has slithered away. It takes a certain kind of arrogance to criticize and then not continue with the process. Emotional intelligence is just too expensive, I guess.

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