Q. Where did the name of this organization come from?
A. In an early breakfast meeting in Santa Rosa, April of 2002, Christine Wells-Groff (Foppiano Vineyards), Dan Berger (Dan Berger's Vintage Experiences), and Jo Diaz (Diaz Communications) were brainstorming for the First Annual Petite Sirah Symposium to be held at Foppiano Vineyards on August 6, 2002. Christine and Jo were discussing with Dan what he thought of the idea, to which he replied, "I think that this will go really well, and I also believe that there should be a group of Petite Sirah growers and producers. They can call themselves, P.S. I Love You!"
After the Symposium, a questionnaire went to all the attendees asking,
"If there was a group called P.S. I Love You for Pet growers and
producers, would you join?" The answer was a resounding,
"Yes." Foppiano Vineyards bought the domain name,
www.psiloveyou.org, Rosenblum Cellars paid the Webmaster, and the
membership grew enthusiastically by leaps and bounds the first year.
Q. Is Petite Sirah a hybrid?
A. According to Dr. Carole Meredith: PS is not a
hybrid in the sense it is used for wine grapes. PS is pure Vitis
vinifera. In the context of wine, the term "hybrid" refers
only to grape varieties that have American grape species in their
ancestry, such as Seyval blanc or Marechal foch or Baco noir.
Like every Vitis vinifera grape variety we've looked at so far, PS
has as its parents two other varieties of Vitis vinifera. Some
Cabernet Sauvignon — its parents are Cabernet franc and Sauvignon
- Chardonnay — its parents are Pinot and Gouais blanc
- Syrah — its parents are Dureza and Mondeuse blanche
- Petite Sirah — its parents are Peloursin and Syrah
In scientific circles, one might use the term "hybrid" to
describe any of the above varieties, because each is the offspring of
two parents. But in wine writing, the term should be avoided, because
it refers to varieties whose parents are not pure Vitis vinifera.
Q. What was Durif's first name?
A. François Durif. According to the late famed
president of the International Gourmet Society and a member of some 66
wine-tasting societies around the world, Roy Andries de Groot* has
said of François Durif, "In the 19th century, the vine was
brought to the United States, but, as with the Gamay Beaujolais, the
planting and development have been burdened by mistakes and
misunderstandings caused by inefficient labeling and record keeping.
The Syrah has become mixed up with a second vine type from the Rhone-a
variety that began to be planted in the valley of the great river
around 1880-a common grape with none of the superb qualities of Syrah.
This lesser grape was developed by a French amateur botanist, Dr.
François Durif, so the vine was given his name. (Today, members
of PS I Love You would gladly take issue with de Groot's opinions;
however, for our purposes, his exact words hold some truths, and are
worth repeating here.)
*Roy Andries de Groot, The Wines of California, The Pacific Northwest
& New York, Summit Books, , New York, 1982, pp. 154 – 155.
Q. Is it one "f" or two, in the name Durif?
A. There is only one "f" in the name Durif.
Q. What is the difference in Petite Sirah, Syrah, and
A. According to Dr. Carole Meredith of the University
of California – Davis, "Petite Sirah is the offspring of Syrah.
Every grape variety has two parents. In the case of Petite Sirah,
those two parents are Syrah and Peloursin. That means that half of the
genetic makeup of Petite Sirah came directly from Syrah. Syrah is the
father of Petite Sirah in the true genetic sense. Syrah and Shiraz are
Q. Why is it sometimes written Petite Syrah and sometimes
written Petite Sirah.
A. According to the late Roy Andries de Groot,
“Perhaps in California… They decided to give it a new name,
including a French word for prestige, and something a bit easier to
spell than Syrah. Both requirements were met by calling the new
American vine Petite Sirah."*
**Roy Andries de Groot, The Wines of California, The Pacific Northwest
& New York, Summit Books, , New York, 1982, pp. 155.