The stories behind Orin Swift’s quirkiest wine labels


Rather than just one label, there are a dozen different labels for Machete – a red blend that makes a hero of Petite Sirah from Northern California, with supporting roles from Syrah and Grenache.

Phinney got the idea for the label while driving home from San Francisco one day. Spotting what he thought was a white police car ahead of him, as he got closer he realised it was an old cop car that had been resold. Behind the wheel was a postman with his arm hanging out of the window puffing on a cigarette. The word ‘Killers” had been keyed onto the side of the car.

Inspired, Phinney set up a photo shoot with the cop car using Calistoga’s moon-like landscape as a backdrop. His initial idea of keying the word ‘Machete’ onto the car and shooting a machete-wielding model behind the wheel didn’t pan out.

Shot over the course of two days, it took over 10,000 attempts to get a dozen Phinney was happy with. “The model is always high up in the frame of every image. She’s always in a position of power. That was important to me,” he says.

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