Dave Phinney, orin swift cellars
I sat down with Dave, explained what a podcast was, he took off his worn John Deere hat, I hit record, and 70 minutes later I left grinning with the anticipation of sharing this episode with the Inside Winemaking listeners.
Dave recounts the experiences that brought him into winemaking and the early days of the Orin Swift wines, while working at Robert Mondavi and Whitehall Lane, including the lessons learned from the difficult 1998 vintage. Our conversation leads from assessing vineyards to blending and the "perception of sweetness." In 2008 Dave sold two of his brands; The Prisoner and Saldo, but continued to build the Orin Swift brand and went on to create Locations Wine after the idea struck while stuck at Charles de Gaulle airport. Locations Wine is now producing individual wines from France, Italy, Spain, Argentina, California, Oregon, Washington, Corsica (great story of the label here), and soon to add Portugal.
Not content just to oversee the winemaking, Dave is the creator of all of his wines' labels, a collection that has been inspired by world travel, simple observation, and a desire to give his fans something they can't find anywhere else. The labels are too cool for me to do them justice - check them out at www.OrinSwift.com/wines. Dave tells the stories behind the Machete, Abstract, and Mercury Head wines. We finish out our conversation with his story of how the Orin Swift tasting room floor in St Helena came to be furnished with pages from "pamphlets of Maoist propaganda." Don't miss Dave's answer to the question. "What do you believe that nobody else does?"
LINKS AND RESOURCES MENTIONED IN THIS EPISODE
- Orin Swift Cellars main website
- Locations Wine website
- Dave first worked at Robert Mondavi Winery when he first moved to Napa in 1997
- Dean Sylvester the winemaker for Whitehall Lane Vineyards and Winery
- Equinox is the wine club at Orin Swift that sends six wines per year with a once-off story and label for each package
- In a case of the Orin Swift wine Machete, each bottle in a case of twelve has a unique label from its photoshoot, which Dave tells the story of during the podcast
- Cool article: Behind the Edgy Look of Orin Swift Wines that further describes some of the art and stories of Orin Swift
- Use the 360 camera function to see the floor at Orin Swift's St Helena tasting room.