The Orin Swift story starts in 1995 when, on a whim, David Swift Phinney understandably took a friend up on an offer to spend a term ‘studying’ in Florence.During that time, he was introduced to wine, how it was made, and got hooked.After graduating in 1997 he took a temporary harvest job at the iconic Robert Mondavi winery.Harvest is not an easy job and David quickly decided that if he was going to work this hard it should eventually be for himself and in 1998 he founded Orin Swift Cellars with two tons of zinfandel, a disruptive approach to labels and marketing and not much else.Today Orin Swift is owned by California icons E&J Gallo, but David remains at the helm, disregarding the traditions of terroir and site-specific bottlings in favour of simply procuring the best grapes to make the most drinkable blends and putting them in bottles that really stand out.
Arietta, an ultra-premium Napa winery specializing in Bordeaux blends, was born of the joint passions for fine wine and classical music shared by wine auctioneer Fritz Hatton and winemaker John Kongsgaard. The vinous inspiration for Arietta was an extraordinary 2.3 acre block of Cabernet Franc on the Hudson Ranch in Napa. Arietta's label features the manuscript of Beethoven's Arietta movement from his last Piano Sonata, Opus 111, written long after the composer had lost his hearing. Opus 111 is one of the most transporting and revolutionary pieces of music ever composed. Serene yet complex, rich yet ethereal, Beethoven’s Arietta provides an inspirational model for great winemaking.