Contrary to popular belief, Petite Sirah is not a small form of Syrah (Shiraz). The real name of the grape is Durif, given to it by its discoverer, botanist Francois Durif. In the 1860’s, a Syrah vine crossed with some other varietal during pollination in Durif’s greenhouse. Once it reached California, Petite Sirah became one of the biggest, most powerful and tannic wines produced in America. Until the early 1960’s, Petite Sirah was one of the most popular grape varieties planted in California, or at least in the Napa Valley.