The Man with the Plans

Dave Phinney’s bold approach to wine changed California forever—and he’s only getting started

The Man with the Plans
Wine Spectator editor and publisher Marvin R. Shanken (David Yellen)
From the Jun 30, 2022, issue

Not every wine drinker knows the name Dave Phinney, but most know his wines. His creation of The Prisoner was groundbreaking in both bottling and marketing—a high quality California red blend, sourced without estate vineyards, whose eye-catching label quickly established it on retail shelves. Soaring from 385 cases to 80,000 in just a few years, it might be possible to dismiss The Prisoner wines as a wild stroke of good fortune were it not for their consistent scores of 90 points or higher from Wine Spectator and follow-up successes such as Orin Swift. With his proven track record, solid reputation across the industry and bold approach to wine, Phinney’s story called out to us to investigate more fully.

Read the rest of Wine Spectator editor and publisher Marvin R. Shanken's introduction to the June 15 & 30, 2022, issue, to learn more about Phinney, winemaker Tony Soter and our latest tasting reports on Tuscany's Brunello di Montalcino and sparkling wine from around the world. 

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