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The Prisoner Wine Company  

The explosive ascent of Orin Swift founder Dave Phinney has few parallels in American wine. In 1997, he was but an intern, washing, dragging hoses, and schlepping his way around the cellar at Robert Mondavi Vineyards. In 1998, he launched Orin Swift Wines, making just 385 cases of a wine called “The Prisoner,” inspired by the “mixed blacks” wines one would find in the home-winemakers’ garage barrels during Prohibition. The key to the effortless drinkability of the wine was its bizarrely innovative blend of Cabernet and Zinfandel, as well as varieties like Charbono and Petite Sirah.

Fast forward to 2010, and Dave was making 75,000 cases of The Prisoner, and finalizing the sale of that wine brand to Huneeus Vintners, along with a Zinfandel called Saldo, good for another 39,000 cases. Huneeus formed The Prisoner Wine Company, and today the winery also produces labels such as Blindfold, Cuttings, and Thorn. Talented winemaker Jen Beloz, who spent 10 years working for [Zinfandel Yoda] Joel Peterson at Ravenswood, is in charge of winemaking here.

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6/25/2017 5:18:54 AM
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