The stories behind Orin Swift’s quirkiest wine labels

Slander

Having troubled and toiled for a decade to make a Pinot Noir worth bottling, Phinney finally got his recipe right in 2015 after learning the importance of picking the finicky grape at exactly the right moment of ripeness (in this case 25 brix) before it ends up tasting like strawberry jam.

The label is one of the simplest in the Orin Swift range, and is meant to look like a piece of duct tape wrapped around the bottle in a nod to labelling barrel and tank samples when he first started out.

“Two things you always have in a winery are duct tape and marker pens… and cold beer,” Phinney jokes. He works with Pinot from the Santa Rita Hills in Santa Barbara and the Sonoma Coast. “Slander is the only wine I make that my wife will drink and she has a much better palate than me.”

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