Porthos | The Wine Insiders
Orin Swift Cellars
orin_swift_cellars.jpg Orin Swift Cellars is the realization of a dream that began while studying abroad at the University of Florence in Florence, Italy. Like so many other college students I was at odds with what to do upon graduation. Fortunately for me, my roommate at the time was from an old wine family in the Sonoma valley and he had a great suggestion: "Why not get into the wine business? You seem to like wine."

In truth, I did enjoy wine and even more, I enjoyed the idea of what I perceived to be an honorable and honest profession. Having just finished an internship for a congressman the previous semester, the latter was very important to me.

When I returned to the States, I tried to immerse myself in all aspects of the wine business, which is no easy task being in the middle of the desert at the University of Arizona. As luck would have it, I found a professor in the agriculture department who was also interested in growing grapes and in the spring of 1997 the University planted a one-acre experimental block in the heart of Tucson, Arizona. Equally important was the experience I gained while working at one of Tucson's finest retail wine shops learning the hardest part of the wine business, selling the stuff.

A few months later, I found myself with a degree in political science working my first harvest for the Robert Mondavi Winery. I cut my teeth as the low man and only white guy on an all-Mexican nightshift. I was hooked. The next year, I started Orin Swift Cellars with two tons of purchased Zinfandel grapes and as my wife likes to say, with one pair of shoes.

Over the last few years we've continued to grow, adding Cabernet Sauvignon and Sauvignon Blanc to the program, as well as streamlining the Zinfandel into what is now our flagship wine, "The Prisoner". In addition, we recently purchased forty-eight acres of raw land in the hills above Oakville and hope to someday build a winery there. Until then, we welcome you to visit us at our newly renovated offices and tasting room located in the heart of downtown St. Helena at he historic Odd Fellows Lodge.