Dave Phinney’s first gig in wine came in 1997 as a harvest intern at Robert Mondavi, and he became fully infatuated with the industry after that year. He then decided to take a wildly unconventional route by immediately starting his own project the very next year, using only two tons of Zinfandel that he sourced and launching Orin Swift Cellars.
Deciding he’d focus more on non-Cabernet varieties, Phinney’s blends immediately took off, and he started to develop a following. Two of his brands, ‘The Prisoner’ and Saldo would become MASSIVE, with the former earning Wine Spectator Top 100 honors three years in a row. Dave would eventually sell the two to the owners of Quintessa for a rumored $40 million to pursue new projects. Of course, unsurprisingly, his ‘Locations’ project went absolutely nuts.
Not bound to centuries-old rules dictating which grapes you’re “allowed” to blend into a wine in each region in order to bottle something a certain way, Dave opted to bottle everything as simply Locations along with the region of origin (e.g. France, Spain, Italy, California, etc.)
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