The PS in Paso event is done, and I’ve caught up… I just read that an event planner is the most stressful job; maybe brain surgery might be more, but not by much, I’m betting. Every second, something could go wrong and event planners are just waiting with anticipation for the shoe to drop… while dealing with details of not an urgent nature. It’s almost like we don’t attend the event. We just hover for repairs.

This one went off without too many hitches for a first stab at it. We’re so pleased with the outcome that we’re now preparing for a second upcoming event. In preparing for this, we did some advance work.

The vintners and winemakers were asked two questions:

  1. What did you enjoy about the event?
    • What you enjoyed will be part of our Website home page.
    • And, for encouragement for more participation for our next ones in 2016 (soon to be announced).
  2. What could we do to make it better?
    • What could be improved will be part of “making it even better.”

What could be improved had some great ideas. Some of them we had also seen as what would strengthen the event, prior to feedback; so the suggestions just validate what we’ll be doing better. Some were new and are feasible; some just aren’t feasible, because we’re such a small, grassroots non-profit. If we don’t think “big,” however, we’ll never get there, so they’re filed for a later date. Perhaps one day Petite Sirah will get a “Sideways” bump. That’s not going to happen swiftly, though. That’s simply because if it does, the supply isn’t ready for such a thing to happen. Here are a few statistics from 2014, to validate what I’m saying:

  • 97,826 acres of Chardonnay reported
  • 87,972 acres of Cabernet Sauvignon
  • 47,827 acres of Zinfandel  
  •   9,974 acres of Petite Sirah


Imagine… almost 100,000 acres of Chard, almost 90,000 acres of Cab, and almost 10,000 acres of Petite. Definitely the “Petite” crop.

Petite Sirah is minuscule by comparison to the big three. We have to be realistic for what we can do, based on the marketing facts of promoting what works, versus just spinning wheels.

The following is what the winemakers have given to us for feedback, and will drive us forward to have more of these PS in Fill in the Blank events throughout the year:

  • Clayhouse Wines ~ Blake Kuhn, winemaker
    • I thought it was a good diverse mix of regions (Dry Creek, Paso, Napa, Yolo, Lodi).
    • Mix of those who were present: owners, winemakers, men, women, young, middle aged, and older.
    • Winemaking styles, something for everyone to relate to and an excellent sampling of California Petite Sirahs!
    • Venue was very nice and good size.
  • Barr Estate Wines ~ Greg Barr, proprietor
    • Thanks for organizing such a quality event.
    • This was the first time we have participated is such an event, so, it was quite an experience. I thought it was fascinating listening to other winemakers talk about their contrasting approach to the varietal, both in the vineyard and the winery, and then having the opportunity to compare the style of each Petite Sirah side by side. It really highlighted the diversity of approach and role that terroir and winemaking play in the outcome.
  • Vina Robles ~ Feedback from several guests and staff members
    • I enjoyed the panel and tasting the diversity of PS producers.
    • I enjoyed the concept of the event – discovering the different aromas and flavors that come from the same grape varietal from different appellations, winemaker techniques, farming techniques, etc.
  • Berryessa Gap ~ Nicole Salengo, winemaker
    • The event was wonderful.
    • I thoroughly loved the educational approach and the fact that the winemakers were able to speak on a panel. That was priceless.
    • I also would like to say it was one of the best events I have attended for networking, which is rare for me being there are only two wineries in our grape-growing region.
    • Other feedback would be that I hope the event continues to move around in the future and maybe can be held closer to Winters in the future (Lodi, Sierra Foothills, etc.)
  • Red Sole Shoes ~ Randy Phillips, proprietor
    • The venue was great and the room was set up in a professional manner.
  • Cantara Cellars ~ Mike Brown, winemaker and proprietor
    • I thought the overall layout and organization of the event were terrific.
  • Our Volunteers
    • This was the best food that they had ever tasted at a wine and food event. (Remember these volunteers have been to nearly all of the Dark & Delicious events, and tasted everything at our past events.)
    • Presented by Cahoots Catering Company, the gourmet hors d’ oeuvres of different cheeses, deli platters, breads, and fruits, were all a great finish to a very special tasting.

We’re now preparing for our next event in 2016, and look forward to another great Petite Sirah educational tasting… with light appetizers and a meet and greet session after the formal tasting.