[Artwork by John Tewey, Portland Maine Rotary Club]

People in Maine sent me off with the tribute to the right. By December 29, 1992, I was on a plane with husband, kids, pets, and all of my earthly belongings… With thoughts of, “Would I ever have such appreciation and understanding again?” Now, when the grape variety Petite Sirah comes up, many people do an immediate word associate with it, and send messages to me.  So, John Tewey, I think some of them know what you were predicting; even, now, including me.

I had just left the first part of my life behind, to become a California transplant. It’s a tale very similar to Petite Sirah’s life story. Nothing could have been more kismet, as I reflect back on that fateful move.

From Clark Smith, in an email to me, as I was explaining to Clark the present state of PS I Love You, Inc.:

“Now these kittens, they do not get trained

As they did in the days that Victoria reigned

And they don’t get brought up in a regular troop

And they think they are smart Just to jump through a hoop.”

                Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats.

Quick History

It’s almost 15 years later, from that fateful day when Petite Sirah grape growers and producers first gathered and stated, “We need publicity for this variety. It’s completely fallen off the charts.” This statement was made at Louis Foppiano‘s first Petite Sirah Symposium. I organized the symposium for Foppiano Vineyards. I had just begun my present career as an independent consultant. Being asked to put on something educational was completely in my tool box, but no one in California knew it yet. And, just beginning as a consultant, I was subconsciously looking for opportunities. This one just fell into my lap, perhaps as always intended. Mission statement:

o To promote, educate, and legitimize Petite Sirah as a heritage variety, with a special emphasis on its terroir uniqueness.

Back to Our Mission Statement

The current climate for specific wine grape advocacy groups is not so much to host wine events, any more. The public is still asking for them, but not at large venues, not at sit-down wine education programs, either… at least not at wineries. They’ll attend in San Francisco, but the wine advocacy group still has to work really hard for them to happen.

The reason is simple: Wineries now have their own events, and those are the most popular. The constant objection I’ve always heard for public events is that they get too big, they have too many people attending; and, those who go for the simple pleasure of overindulgence turn off the other attendees. As an organizer, I too worry about those who don’t have enough self-control. On a college campus, at least people are on foot (with its own set of problems). At a venue where they’re driving to it, it’s really worrisome for the hosts.

Our original purpose was to get publicity for the variety, not notoriety.

So, we’re rethinking it all. We’ll continue to find opportunities for publicity, and it may include events, but they will have a specific purpose to educate. What those venues are has yet to be fully realized.

We’re back to square one. Wine companies that have a more educational focus will continue to support the efforts. We do ask ourselves a lot of questions, as we ponder Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats.

“Now these kittens, they do not get trained

As they did in the days that Victoria reigned

And they don’t get brought up in a regular troop

And they think they are smart Just to jump through a hoop.”

We’ve got to do more than jump through hoops… And time will reveal what this all means. Morphing has never been more critical. An appreciation for Petite Sirah’s history is the most important ingredient. Until people stop writing that “Petite Sirah is a bastard child” – horrors of all  horrors; or, that it’s “a distant cousin of Syrah” (give me a break). My job is not yet complete, I can tell you that much, for sure.

[Image of Clark Smith is borrowed from his Website.]

Clark Smith’s Thoughts

Very interesting.  Perhaps you have accomplished the generic goal you set out to achieve…

This by way of Thank You.

In wine technology, a long time ago, we invented the following awareness cascade:

PR = Creating a need where none previously existed.

Concept Marketing  = Proposing a Solution

Image Marketing = Brand differentiation

Sales = Answering the phone.

Perhaps we are now in the brand differentiation phase, or maybe even the Sales phase.  You have not failed.  The world is the change you set out to wright.

PURCHASED IMAGE of cat: Copyright: haywiremedia / 123RF Stock Photo