Making It Look Easy

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

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.

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