Orin Swift 2009 Saldo Offer

Posted by on Oct 6, 2011 in Wine Blog | 0 comments

Orin Swift 2009 Saldo Offer

I wish I knew how many wineries in Napa started as “just a guy who decided he wanted to make wine one day.” There must be dozens of them. Maybe hundreds. These numbers shouldn’t be allowed to devalue the effort and vision it takes to create a successful winery, but sometimes I scratch my head in bemusement at the audacity of so many people who simply decide to throw their lives into the wine business. While we don’t really hear about the ones that don’t make it, there are enough of them that have become wildly successful that “the guy with the dream” is a well-established cliché at this point in the history of wine.

This is the story of one of “those guys” and his wine

Dave Phinney was one of those guys, and his ascendancy to the proprietorship of one of Napa’s great success stories is a textbook case of seeing where his nose led him. Apparently there’s nothing like starting with the hardest, dirtiest, and most thankless part of the business to teach you how things work. By the end of his first year as an intern at Robert Mondavi winery, Phinney had figured out how to get his hands on two tons of Zinfandel grapes, and Orin Swift Cellars was born. A combination of elements from his parent’s names, Orin Swift Cellars sounds like it’s the life’s work of a master winemaker. That’s about right, except the winemaker’s name is Dave (there is no Orin Swift) and he is only in his 8th vintage.

Through the success of his Prisoner label, (Wine Spectator has ranked ‘The Prisoner’ or ‘Saldo’ in its top 100 Wines of the Year, 4 out of the last six years.) Orin Swift Cellars owner/winemaker Dave Phinney has gained access to some of the best Zinfandel vineyards in the Northern California growing community. Dave recently decided he wanted to make a high quality Zinfandel and what he created did not fit the constraints of a single AVA. Two years ago, he rolled out Saldo, a wine from 100% Zinfandel to partner with his award winning Zin blend, The Prisoner. Like The Prisoner, Saldo was an instant hit with the consumers and the media. The word “saldo” has many different meanings in Spanish, Italian and Portuguese. In Spanish, it mainly refers to “balance on hand”, and sometimes it can mean “from here and there.” This wine represents the best of the best lots made by Dave from vineyards all across Northern California. Saldo made its inaugural appearance in Spectator’s Top 100 in 2010 at #69.

Saldo’s grapes are from Sonoma, Napa, Amador, Mendocino, and Contra Costa counties. Some of these great vineyards include Monte Rosso, Eagle Point, Rockpile, Bismark, Beatty, Page Nord, Duarte, Solari, Evangehlo, Battuelo’s, Tofanelli, Korte, Mable Tiedemann, Frediani, Lewers, Alta Vista, and Bald Mountain just to name a few.

We also know that Dave Phinney is one of those guys who doesn’t mind making a little money as well. Last year, he sold his two Zinfandel based brands-The Prisoner and Saldo to Agustin Huneeus of Quintessa. As such, Huneeus plans to increase production of Prisoner threefold. Even though Phinney will remain the winemaker for the next five years, this has me very concerned about the ongoing quality of ‘The Prisoner’ and ‘Saldo’. The one thing I am certain of is that this vintage, 2009, was made by Dave Phinney. Phinney will continue to own and operate Orin Swift Winery, which includes all the wines he makes without Zinfandel. Given his past history of success, we will keep following his next projects closely.


“Dense in structure, but shows finesse, with toasty black cherry and grilled anise aromas that lead to ripe, zesty flavors of blackberry, espresso and fresh pepper.” Best from 2013 through 2017″. 20,000 cases made.~ Wine Spectator 88 points

The Offer

$163/6 bottles** ($27.16/bottle)
$307/case of 12** ($25.58/bottle)

Can’t make it into the store? Use the form below…

Just let us know how many bottles you would like

**The $31.99 bottle price remains as long as supply lasts.

The Special 6 bottle and 12 bottle pricing ends October 13, 2011

** Your payment for the wine is required upon the wines arrival. (Orders must be placed by Thursday October 13, 2011 in order to receive the discounted price. All orders will be confirmed via e-mail.

Leave a Comment