PS I Love You, Inc. is a 501 (C)(6) non profit. This means that we’re a Business-2-Busness organization similar to the Chamber of Commerce. We raise money in order to create marketing dollars. We’re not raising money for the private sector, in order to help the disadvantaged.

Over the years, Petite Sirah has still had many disadvantages along the way; most important in disparaging declarations that Petite Sirah is simply a bastard child, as some have recorded it.

I’m sorry for being so indelicate in my last sentence, I really am sorry. I’m not the one who has made such a declaration about Petite Sirah’s authenticity. Petite Sirah’s stakeholders also don’t think of Petite this way. We want this kind of thinking about Petite Sirah to have its well deserved paradigm shift into the important, American heritage variety that it is, which it rightfully deserves in American Viticultural history. Syrah is considered a noble variety and Peloursin is considered a peasant. Oh… pa-leease… This is the US, we left all of that nobility stuff behind, the day the Mayflower set sail, didn’t we?

Petite Sirah is intrinsically tied to American Viticultural history in some very major ways.

A little more than 11,000 acres of Petite are planted worldwide.

  • 97,826 acres of Chardonnay reported in CA
  • 87,972 acres of Cabernet Sauvignon in CA
  • 47,827 acres of Zinfandel in CA
  •  11,000 acres of Petite Sirah – World wide

The Crème de la Crème

With 9,974 of those acres being planted in California, important stakeholders of  PS I Love You feel that it’s our duty and honor to be very dedicated to Petite Sirah’s future. We’re the guts and glory, who take investing in Petite’s future as our main mission. Call it a passion beyond winemaking, if you will, because that’s what it is… Our crème de la crème stakeholders believe that Petite Sirah is our baby to nourish, while we watch it flourish through its continual development to its place of honor. That would not be a distant cousin or an illegitimate offspring. It’s a place of important, historical significance. And many, many winemakers have taken the plunge, albeit very quietly.

Petite Sirah Case in Point

  • 2002 – 62 growers and producers of Petite Sirah were identified.
  • 2016 – (to date) – 1,092 growers and producers of PS have been identified.
  • This is a 1,661.29% increase.
    • This should speak for itself
    • Ergo… One might think our job is done, we’ve arrived
    • But, it’s far from done, we’ve just begun

Why? Because there are still people who misspell Petite Sirah:

  • Petite Syrah – with a “y,” not the “i”
  • Or, no final “e” on Petit.
    • If the “e” is added to my “Joe,” I just experienced a sex change.
    • If it’s left off a man’s name, pretty much, he also had a sex change.

This seems comical enough, and it is for me, because I have no male envy; but – the BIG but – wine media is still also saying (14 years later) that Petite Sirah is a “distant cousin to Syrah.” In my family, when my father and my mother created my siblings and me, we became their children, not their “distant cousins.”

  • François Durif’s cross pollination story is the real missing link, which means that some basic research is based on hearsay, not hard facts.
  • The wheels of progress are definitely turning very slowly, 14 years later for me as an advocate.
  • And… patience is still a virtue in my office.

While the exposure of Petite Sirah’s influence within the winemaking world has become strong, with Petite Sriah now being many winemakers’ “Pet” project, most marketing departments are not yet singing from one united hymnal. Petite Sriah Stakeholders are invested… It seems like such a silly enough thing to have to say; however, I wouldn’t have to write this, if we had the strength of everyone of the growers and producers passing along the right materials.

The strength of a group is squared the number of the group.

We’re 80 stakeholders; so, 80 x 80 = 6,400, giving us a somewhat impactful voice, but we’re not there yet..

I’m betting that I could go into many a tasting room, ask what Petite Sirah is, and get tons of mixed messages, with many of them being flat out wrong.

How dare I say that? I was once working beside a wine educator who was asked, “What makes this wine sweet?” The answer by the educator was, “It’s the type of grape.”

At the end of the day, when no one else was within earshot, I handed this gentleman “The Oxford Companion to Wine.” With 60 units in wine sales, marketing, vit, and enology studies, plus 10 years in the business as a Director of PR, I couldn’t just let this one slide by. It was my duty to turn him onto brix and how it affects wine production.

Plus, he had been really snooty to me, since being hired. I was completely respectful up to that point. It changed a bit, and I could now educate him, knowing his level of understanding Wine 101. Our relationship changed.

Sweetness in a wine is a very basic concept for winemaking. Petite Sirah is much more complex, because for so many years, there was NO education for it. Winemakers just made it and didn’t even label it as Petite Sirah.

John Parducci, of Parducci Wine Cellars, was a classic example. He made varietal Petite Sirah in the 1930s; except, and this is the big BUT, he didn’t label is as such. In the days, it was called Hearty Burgundy, and winemakers called it Petie Sara… And so did Foppiano Vineyards make and bottle Petie Sara, back in the really early days.

So, I asked our stakeholders a question, realizing in the process that a Q&A can be the beginning of a Q&A series. In the interest of trying to not write a blog post more than 1000 words, tomorrow Wine-Blog will have the results of “Why do YOU make a Petite Sirah?”