News & Events

Dave Phinney has been awarded Wine Enthusiast’s Winemaker of the Year for 2019.

by Pieroth Japan
A creative thinker, iconoclast and tirelessly hard worker, Napa Valley-­based winemaker Dave Phinney may not be a household name among wine drinkers, but many of his wines sure are.
Originally from West Los Angeles,­ Phinney fell in love with vines and wine while studying in Florence, Italy, for a semester during college. It didn’t take long for him to switch his focus to agriculture once he returned to the states.
He would go on to plant experimental vineyards while still in school, and, after graduating, worked as a harvest intern at Robert Mondavi Winery and then Whitehall Lane, both in the Napa Valley.

After just one year in the field, in 1998, he launched his own brand, called Orin Swift Cellars, a combination of his father’s middle name and his mother’s maiden name. Devoted to blending across varieties, appellations and vintages, the company proudly uses the California appellation. It follows Phinney’s guiding philosophy that geographic diversity is the easiest and best way to create­ complexity.

In 2000 Phinney unleashed another experiment to the world: An edgy, Francisco de Goya-­labeled rich red blend called The Prisoner. 
In recognition of his ceaseless innovation, risk taking and keen sense of the consumer, Dave Phinney has been rewarded Winemaker of the Year 2019 by Wine Enthusiast Magazine.