A Trio of Delightful Wines from Theopolis Vineyards

Theopolis Vineyards

February is a celebration of Black History Month. Here’s an article I wrote about an intriguing winery and an intriguing woman.  Theopolis Vineyards was founded by Theodora Lee who is known in the wine industry with the moniker Theo-patra. While she’s an attorney by day, Ms. Lee developed a passion for wine and purchased sheep land in the Yorkville Highlands of Anderson Valley. Today her vineyard has 5 acres and she makes a host of different wines. The winery is located along Highway 128 in southeastern Mendocino County, an AVA with considerable elevation.

I heard Ms. Lee speak at the Batonnage forum in 2020 and was impressed not only with her wines but with what she had to say about the industry.

This one was a fun sipper made from Petite Sirah which is a grape I have come to love and was perfect with with my frittata.

Petite Sirah is a red grape that originated in France but made its’ way to California  and was “introduced into California by Charles McIver. He imported Petite Sirah for his Linda Vista Vineyard, at the Mission San Jose in Alameda County, entering the US through the East Bay.” according to the PS I Love You website

Unveiled by Francois Durif, a botanist in France in 1880 as a new variety,  it is a crossing between Syrah and a grape called Peloursin. It is also called Durif in France, named for the man who discovered it. While planted in other countries such as Australia, California is really it’s best growing area.

I wanted to write about what Petite Sirah is. When I read about it, people often describe what it’s not. I would hate if someone described me that way, so I am giving Petite Sirah it’s due. Positive attributes first and foremost I always say.

As a still red wine, Petite Sirah has inky purple tones, and aromas of blueberries, violets, bramble, sweet spice. On the palate it also showed great minerality and depth with silky tannins and a long finish. As a rose, I found the color to be a vibrant Salmon. I still got that great minerality and depth but also more of the fresh fruit and acidity than the spice.

The second wine I purchased was a Pinot Noir from Yorkville Highlands. a lovely example of Pinot Noir with classic cherry, mushroom, and bramble notes. I paired it with a frittata I made with potatoes and onions for brunch. The wine is unfiltered which I liked a lot. Less intervention the better.

The third wine I purchased was called Symphony and was a California crossing of Muscat of Alexandria and Grenache Gris that was developed in 1948 but not commercially available until the 1980s. This grape was created by Harold Olmo at UC Davis. It had tropical white fruit aromas and flavors with notes of spice and perfume.


  1. I love your description of Petite Sirah and the memories of sharing these wines with your mom. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a rose made from that grape. How cool too that Chinese food is always there on Sunday nights! 🙂

    • Deanna,
      Thanks for commenting. Many, many Jewish families eat Chinese food on Sunday night. I have no idea how that began but it’s a tradition over 50 years old :).

  2. So interesting to hear she uses Symphony! I first heard of this grape 15-ish years ago as a couple MA wineries were using it. I enjoyed those immensely. I just drank one from HI but am sorry to say that was not enjoyable.

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