Grape Varieties at Fess Parker Winery



While few would dispute the northern Rhône as Syrah's most famous home, its parentage has been the subject of much debate over the years, one of the more popular theories being that it originated in ancient Persia. However, DNA studies have proven all prior theories wrong indicating instead that it is a natural cross between Mondeuse Blanche and Dureza with its most likely birthplace being the French Rhône-Alpes region.

Also Known As

Shiraz in Australia and South Africa leading to prior speculation that it originated in the Persian city of Shiraz, though as stated above, this has been refuted by DNA analysis.


On The Vine

Vigorous, mid ripening and relatively resistant to disease with small, late budding berries. Best suited for well-drained, rocky soils in warm climates (not too hot) though some cooler climate examples have proven it to be adaptably versatile.

In The Glass

Though no doubt structured with a potential for firmer, more masculine expressions, Syrah's tannins tend to be a bit softer than Cabernet Sauvignon framing aromas and flavors of leather, liquorice, black pepper and sweet, black fruits.

Notable Regions

Rhône in France; Spain (mostly Castilla-La Mancha); Colchagua, Chile; Mendoza, Argentina; Australia (as Shiraz); South Africa (usually as Shiraz); Washington state and California, United States.

Syrah in California

The mid-to-late-nineties and early part of this century saw a huge increase in Syrah plantings throughout California led in large part by a group of vignerons and enthusiasts known as the "Rhône Rangers" who have sought to increase awareness of and appreciation of the great varieties of France's Rhône regions. Some of the finest examples of California Syrah are found throughout the Central Coast, with Santa Barbara County accounting for many of the top scorers.

Syrah at Fess Parker Winery

The moderately warmer climate of Los Olivos provides the perfect conditions for the Fess Parker estate vineyard, Rodney's, to grow Syrah, producing full-bodied, complex wines suitable for moderate aging but still very approachable in their youth.