A letter from a Petite son to his noble Father

“I had to go and see the new world Father. I had to stake my claim…”

Born of noble birth in 1880, I knew my Petite feet couldn’t possibly follow as you ruled the land of Rhone. “Go west young man” resonated in me. The Missions of California called for me and off I went in search of a new home.

Oh the sunshine! I would rule my own domain and set out to win the west. My, how I loved the excitement of a future in a new state rich with fertile soil and golden hills. California welcomed all and there is where my journey truly began.

Parents long for their child’s return and I felt the pressure. That mercenary phylloxera soon crossed the wide open sea to find me and bring me to my knees.  The horrible louse wrecked the land the world over but my vines thrived when others could no longer bare fruit. Raised from Hermitage, you trained me well, for I did not succumb. I am a survivor. Through tenacious perseverance I would lead our new country into the 20th century. Ripe for the picking, the Napa Valley; the world would soon seek.

Your determined Petite prince danced across the hills spreading abundance far and wide. Sadly, our progressive era came to a halt in 1920 when Sheriff Prohibition came to town. He tested my resolve. I was almost crushed but for the sake of the sacrament, I lived on.  Still a faithful son to my Coté Rotie, I said to Mother Peloursin; I’ll make you proud.  Those near and far longed for the toast from which would bring health, happiness and unity. A thick skinned soul I am, I knew it was my duty to set off on an American journey to save our grape nation. I laid rest in hot trains, back rooms and bathtubs but by gosh, our citizens would savor each secret sip until one day in 1933, our country’s worst experiment finally came to an end.  A collective cheer was heard cross the land and Petite Sirah was given the crown!

Your noble son was given the key to the kingdom and by 1970 everyone seemed to share my vision. The American dream was alive and well for this wee pilgrim.

Upon the 1970’s my true identity was finally discovered.  Proud of my noble heritage I am but I wanted to be loved for the hard working American I had become. I’m a a bit elusive today, older and wiser so reserve myself for the very best of bottles. So, I thank you Father Syrah for your discipline, for granting me intrinsic ability to finely weather the years and for giving me great stock from which to grow. I venerate you.”  

Signed, your noble son, Petite Sirah. An American Heritage grape
Circa. 1884