Dave Phinney pretty much stumbled into the wine
business after taking a friend up on an offer and travelling
to Florence on a whim. In Italy, of course, he was always
going to collide with the joyful marriage of food and wine.
Predictably, Dave fell in love, and in his words, 'the die
was cast.' He returned to the United States, graduated
from university and four days later had moved to the
Having sent his resume to 50 wineries, he received back
just the one reply. It was from Robert Mondavi. Says Dave:
'I showed up to my temporary harvest position interview
wearing a suit and tie. They literally laughed at me, gave
me a very basic math exam and asked if I could pass a
drug test. A few weeks later I was hired.'
As much as he loved his new job, and he did, Dave
Phinney decided that if he was going to work this hard,
it would eventually have to be for himself. The very next
year, he started Orin Swift. His winemaking philosophy
is the same as it was at the beginning: find the very best
fruit from the very best vineyards, 'farm it right, harvest it
right, bring it into the winery and don't screw it up.'
Orin Swift is a brand known as much for the
evocative artistic expressions on its labels as it is for
the bold, finessed styling within. Says Dave Phinney:
'There’s a soul to this business; that soul isn’t just
from the people who make wine, it’s from everyone
who loves wines that make them feel something.'
1325 Main Street
St. Helena, CA 94574