It is with those two quotes in mind that I came up with the idea for the "Occupy Syrah Movement". It literally came about from a conversation; I was having on twitter, something I do often. It then percolated through my own observations and conversations that I've had over the years with many different sources in wine world. This movement is being aided and abetted by none other than Shawn Burgert a self-described Wandering-Wino.
Take this example; Jon Bonné, Wine Editor at the San Francisco Chronicle, declared that "The grand experiment to push Syrah as California's next great red grape has hit a brick wall." In an article entitled California Syrah: Not the Next Big Thing, But Better For It? Talia Baiocchi states, "the numbers do nothing to prove him wrong. As of last month, sales of Syrah and Shiraz were down another 11% from the year before." Ouch, now that has got to hurt and those facts only bolster my position about why Syrah needs our help, I say viva the revolution!
For most folks, Syrah is not even on their collective wine swirling radar, like it came from the isle of misfit toys or something and for me I can't even imagine why its not a better received wine. From my observations, Syrah seems to sit in far too many wineries, distributors, and retailers inventories collecting dust, in nearly a virtual obscurity, when compared and contrasted to other wines. It would seem that the average vino-sapien out there, is just too unsure of what to do with it, they just don't know what to pair or where it fits into their daily quaff.
For example if I said, "what would you pair with a Cabernet Sauvignon", you would most likely have a quick answer or if I asked, "what would you pair with a Pinot Noir", again many easy answers would immediately populate on the tip of your tongue. Now if I said, give me some pairing suggestions for Syrah, I'm pretty sure I would get far too many blank stares and a few shoulder shrugs.
Now if you're reading this from the wine-blogger perspective, you most likely have all the answers to those questions and drink Syrah on a regular to semi-regular basis. My challenge to you other [1%] wine-bloggers out there, who already "get-it" is to help the other vino-sapiens [99%] out there who don't.
So your part of this movement is to be a "thought" leader, go out make some noise, shake up your local wine bar, wine store or your favorite tasting room with an occupation. So I'm going to ask you to get on-board with the movement, the occupation if you will. Please help me and help Syrah by promoting this event, to Occupy Syrah, where ever and whenever you can. How you help is up to you, but if you do have an event, please take some pictures and post them to Occupy Syrah FB page here. For those of you with a twitter account please feel free to follow the conversation on December 7th from 4-8pm PST, which also happens to be Wine Wednesday, we will be using the hash-tag #OccupySyrah.
In the interest of full disclosure, I personally don't seek to gain one thin dime by this promotion. Okay a few more folks may look at my blog and I may get a bit more traffic. But in all candor and honesty my only motivation is; the desire to see this grape have its well deserved day in the sun, with plenty of hang-time of course.
I know jumping to conclusions is considered good exercise by some, but honestly for those of you with concerns about the reasons behind this idea, let me lay those fears to rest. Occupy Syrah has never had anything to do with belittling or minimizing anyone period. Because it's in fact a movement about elevating a grape from realm of the of less-likely to be quaffed, to the mainstream of vino consciousness.