One of Livermore Valley’s pioneering wineries, Concannon Vineyard, was the first winery in America to plant and bottle the Petite Sirah varietal. The rocky soil and warm climate proved to be the perfect environment for the grape 50 years ago.
Today, the popularity of Petite Sirah is growing at a rate of four times faster than any other varietal. According to Concannon, 95% of all Petite Sirah planted is still in California. While Concannon may have been the first winery to produce the varietal, it is certainly not the only one. Many other Livermore wineries have a history of producing award-winning Petite Sirah.
The summer of 2011 marks the 50th Anniversary of the varietal and the Petite Sirah-producing wineries of Livermore Valley have organized several public celebrations to mark the varietal’s history in the region.
Kicking off the celebration is Petite Sirah on the Rails, a 2-hour train ride on the historic Niles Canyon Railway, featuring Petite Sirah tastings from Concannon Vineyard, Nottingham Cellars, McGrail Vineyards, Charles R Vineyards and Bent Creek Winery. Tickets are $45 per person and include tasting and light food pairings. Tickets are available online .
Next is a Celebration of Livermore Valley’s Shining Star: Petite Sirah! This is a first-ever all Petite Sirah tasting and dinner. The event will be held at McGrail Vineyards on Saturday, July 30 from 6:30-10 pm. 14 wineries are participating and tickets are $75/person. Only 150 tickets are available and may be purchased online.
The winery that launched the varietal, Concannon Vineyard, will host a two-day celebration of Petite Sirah on August 13-14. Guests can enjoy vertical tastings of vintages hand-picked by the Concannon family. Food pairings and cooking demonstrations will pair the wine with Petite Sirah products like chocolates, chocolate sauce and ice cream. There will also be live music and entertainment.
Adjacent to the tasting room at Concannon Vineyard, Underdog Wine Bar, will feature a new Petite Sirah flight honoring Concannon’s Conservancy, Reserve and Heritage Wines. A festive small plate menu will feature tempting dishes like short ribs braised in Concannon Vineyard’s Petite Sirah.