Ravenswood was founded in 1976 in Sonoma Valley by Joel Peterson. Peterson is a microbiologist by training, but while doing immunology research in San Francisco in the early 1970s he began dabbling in winemaking. Because of his success with Zinfandel, he quickly became known as the godfather of Zinfandel, and single vineyard Zinfandels continue to be the estate’s flagship wines. Ravenswood owns about 15 acres of vineyards but acquires most of its grapes from a network of more than 100 northern California growers. The estate also makes Chardonnay, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and various blends.
Despite its popularity, this grape is quite rare. Less than 10,000 acres are planted worldwide, with the bulk in California. In France, the grape is referred to as Durif. Not to be confused with Syrah, Petite Sirah is a cross of Syrah and Peloursin. The result is darker and fuller.