Making It Look Easy

Winemaker Dave Phinney, creator of The Prisoner, has plenty more in the pipeline
From the Apr 30, 2014, issue

Dave Phinney can make winemaking seem almost effortless. His first wine, The Prisoner, debuted with the 2000 vintage and rocketed to success. A blend of Zinfandel, Cabernet Sauvignon, Petite Sirah and small percentages of Syrah and Charbono, wasn't meticulously planned—as a fledgling winemaker, Phinney used what grapes were available to him. He made 385 cases the first year, labeling it with a Goya etching his parents had given him and selling it for $25 a bottle. The brand hit shelves just as Zinfandel was experiencing a resurgence in popularity. Wine Spectator's MaryAnn Worobiec explains.

Member-Only Content

Premium Subscription

Join today and get immediate access to this article, and to our entire database of more than 400,000 wine ratings. It only takes moments—but it will help you drink better all year long.

Start Free 30-day Trial

Already a member? Sign In

You Might Also Like

America's Chef-in-Chief

America's Chef-in-Chief

Two new shows broaden and extend Julia Child’s legacy

Jun 30, 2022
A Grower of Wine

A Grower of Wine

Tony Soter helped set the course for Napa Cabernet before championing Pinot Noir in …

Jun 30, 2022
Creative Force

Creative Force

Dave Phinney, the mind behind The Prisoner Wine Co. and other innovative projects, keeps …

Jun 30, 2022
Mare Island: Plans and Promise

Mare Island: Plans and Promise

Adjacent to the coastal city of Vallejo, California, a tiny peninsula has seen little life …

Jun 30, 2022
In the Phinney Spirit

In the Phinney Spirit

Savage & Cooke Distillery brings new life to Mare Island as a craft beverage destination

Jun 30, 2022
Phinney and Friends

Phinney and Friends

Dave Phinney's collaborations beyond wine include a Bourbon and tea venture with Scottie …

Jun 30, 2022