Skip to Content (Press Enter)
Skip to Footer (Press Enter)
Product Image Pending for The Barrel Room


The history of Orin Swift Cellars dates back to 1995 (see timeline below) when on a lark, David Swift Phinney took a friend up on an offer and went to Florence, Italy to spend a semester “studying”. During that time, he was introduced to wine, how it was made, and got hooked. A few more years of university led to graduation and eventually a job at Robert Mondavi Winery in 1997 as a temporary harvest worker.

Deciding that if he was going to work this hard, it would eventually have to be for himself, he founded Orin Swift Cellars in 1998; Orin is his father’s middle name and Swift is his mother’s maiden name. With two tons of zinfandel and not much else, he spent the next decade making wine for others as well as himself and grew the brand to what it is today.

Dave Phinney Image

A Brief Timeline of Orin Swift

+ Dave goes abroad for a semester.
+ Picks up smoking.
+ Meets wine—falls in love.

+ Dave heads back to the States.
+ Quits smoking ( it’s cooler in Europe).
+ Works as an unpaid intern (before people realized that was a terrible idea), helps plant a vineyard.

+ Dave graduates (barely).
+ Moves to Napa, is the only white guy in an all-Mexican cellar.
+ Learns defensive Spanish. Also: how to make wine.

+ Founds Orin Swift Cellars
+ First wine: sucks.

+ Second wine: much better.

+ More attempts, more wine. Dave mixes a bunch of the good stuff together to produce his first big hit: The Prisoner.
+ Realizes it’s better to be lucky than good.

Orin Swift Mercury Head Bottle Shot

+ Slaps a dime on a bottle of Cab (heads). Government said it was OK—have the fax to prove it.
+ Knot: tied it.

+ New Release: Papillon. A “long story,” according to Dave—basically named by his daughter.

+ New Releases: Abstract and Machete.

+ Dave opens up an official Tasting Room in St. Helena.
+ Stops running illegal tastings out of the office.

+ New Tasting Room opens in a historic bank building in downtown St. Helena, CA

Plans for Tomorrow
+ Knot: keep it tied.
+ Wine: keep punching and over-delivering at every level so Dave doesn’t have to go on the road.

The Experience

10 years ago Orin Swift first opened their doors and invited old and new friends to join them for a drink. This year, they are excited to invite you next door as they open an expanded and reimagined tasting experience building on all they’ve learned from the past decade.

In a historic bank building in downtown St. Helena, CA they’ve designed a space to bring you into their world. Thoughtful details and raw materials compliment four new tasting experiences: Rock, Paper, Scissors, and The Vault. From casual to curated, the new space is the perfect introduction to OSC, and the only place for ride-or-die fans to enjoy personalized deep dives. Book Your Tasting.

Featured Wines