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Things You Should Know About The Prisoner Wine Company

Add A Glass of Prisoner Wine to Your Next Omakase Experience

Born in Rutherford, Napa Valley, The Prisoner began as a little-known red blend, created by winemaker Dave Phinney in 2000, but the brand quickly garnered a huge fan base, becoming famous for its untraditional label and style.

Following the sale of the brand to Constellation, what used to be The Prisoner the aforementioned red blend has become The Prisoner Wine Company, a winery brand that now offers its flagship label, plus 13 other varieties.

Want to know more about the unconventional wine brand? Read on for 10 things you should know about The Prisoner Wine Company.

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The Brand Is All About Blends

The Prisoner Wine Company is best known for its unique blends. The brands flagship wine, a red blend made with Zinfandel, Cabernet Sauvignon, Petite Sirah, Syrah, and Charbono, was a major hit, and since then the brand has released two additional blends: a red blend called Dérangé, and a white blend called Blindfold.

How The Prisoner Went From Outsider Wine To $285 Million National Phenomenon

Emmy-nominated actress Pamela Adlon sips a lot of wine with her co-stars on the hit FX series Better Things. Very rarely do viewers get a look at which labels are being poured.

But during the Season 2 finale, titled Graduation, the cameras zoomed in for a brief close-up of one particular bottle. The label is partially obscured. Even so, its unmistakable: the red-and-black-streaked background, the cursive script, and, most tellingly, the ghostly white chains.

Im referring of course to The Prisoner, the ridiculously popular California red blend with the shackled inmate on the bottle.

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The image is haunting in more ways than one. Beyond its grim depiction of a life in chains, Im beginning to feel like its following me. Almost everywhere I look, The Prisoner is there, from my local shops in Brooklyn to my mother-in-laws favorite retailer in suburban Ohio. In some strange corners, it even appears as an oversized display bottle. For birthdays, holidays, and other big celebrations, somebody inevitably shows up with a bottle of the stuff. Now its even creeping onto my TV screen.

It has become almost inescapable, which, given its label art, seems only fitting.

A post shared by James C. Sturges on Jan 18, 2018 at 2:15pm PST

Last year, the company produced about 165,000 cases of The Prisoner, up 17.5 percent, a dramatic escalation for what used to be a small but influential indie label.

A post shared by Burcu Orsel Doeh on Jan 13, 2018 at 1:20pm PST

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Elaboration Of The Prisoner Wine Company The Prisoner 2012

The Prisoner Wine Company The Prisoner 2012

TASTING NOTES OF The Prisoner Wine Company The Prisoner 2012:

  • View: ruby purple.
  • Nose: a big bouquet of pepper, meaty notes of bay leaf, cigar of snuff, black currants and sweet cherry jam.
  • Mouth: medium to full-bodied, explosive, fruity, lovely wine, hedonistic, very well equipped.

APPELLATION: California.

Its Tasting Room Is Creepy

Buy The Prisoner Red Wine, Napa Valley

The brands unconventional tasting room follows suit with its dark and eerie labels. The 40,000-square-foot facility, located in St. Helena, Calif., is complete with skeletons made of graphite, neon signs mirroring the scratch marks on its Dérangé bottles, and matte-black pottery adorned with metal spikes and more.

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The Prisoner Wine Company Introduces Two New Wines Under The Prisoner Label

#1 LUXURY RED BLEND THE PRISONER IS JOINED BY A NAPA VALLEY CABERNET SAUVIGNON AND CHARDONNAY;

Napa Valley, CA, Today, The Prisoner Wine Company announces the introduction of a new Napa; Valley Cabernet Sauvignon and Carneros Chardonnay to accompany its iconic flagship Napa Valley Red Blend under; the label of The Prisoner. The brand shook the industry over two decades ago with the first release of its namesake,; The Prisoner, and has since become recognized for its portfolio of boundary breaking super-luxury blends with visually provocative labels. These new offerings will allow more consumers than ever to experience the allure of The; Prisoner, which sells out annually due to strong demand. This trio of wines is available online and at retailers; nationwide in 750mL and 375mL formats, as well as a gift pack of three 375mL bottles, arriving in time for the; holidays.;;

Developed by The Prisoner Wine Companys Director of Winemaking Chrissy Wittmann and her winemaking team,; these new wines are sourced from the brands network of grape growers in Napa Valley. Wittmann blends interesting varietals to develop a unique palate for the Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay, which echo the bold character of; The Prisoner Red Blend. The Prisoner trio is crafted for those who think, create and drink differently.;

Each wine in the trio boasts a rich, complex flavor profile:;

About The Prisoner Wine Company:

It Went From Indie To Mainstream

When The Prisoner was first created, it was a small label Phinney released only 385 cases of the wine in 2000. However, these days, Dave Phinney is no longer involved in the brand. The Prisoner is now one of more than 100 brands owned by Constellation, and in 2017, the company produced about 165,000 cases of The Prisoner a dramatic increase from its initial production.

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It Went Viral Before Going Viral Was A Thing

When The Prisoner was first released in 2000, Facebook, YouTube, and Instagram had not yet been invented. Yet the Zinfandel-heavy red blend, with its creepy yet Instagrammable label, became wildly popular in Napa and beyond. Back then, dark labels like The Prisoners werent done, and most winemakers focused on single-grape varietals, making a red blend like The Prisoner unconventional for multiple reasons. Within 10 years, the brand was sold to Huneeus Vintners. In 2016, it was again sold to Constellation Brands, a major beverage conglomerate.

The Brand Works With Over 100 Growers Throughout California

Man jailed over $30m vintage wine fraud in US

The brand doesnt have a single vineyard where it grows its grapes. Instead, to source grapes for its blends, the brand turns to a variety of small-scale producers in California who grow unique varietals. The brand is constantly fostering new relationships with vintners across the state, meaning its network of 100 growers will likely continue to grow.

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The Prisoner Wine Company

The Prisoner Wine Companys eponymous first wine was inspired by the d…

The Prisoner Wine Companys eponymous first wine was inspired by the drinkable mixed blacks made by the Italian immigrants who originally settled in Napa Valley. Since launch, The Prisoner soon became recognized as one of the most innovative Napa Valley wines, leading the resurgence of California red blends and earning cult wine status. Now complemented by a white blend , Chardonnay , Cabernet Sauvignon , Zinfandel , Merlot and a Red Blend , The Prisoner Wine Companys winemaking philosophy remains the same: To collaborate with a family of growers throughout Californias best winegrowing regions to craft wines of exceptional quality and unexpected character.

The Prisoner Wine Company acquires grapes from more than 100 vineyards throughout Californias premier grape-growing regions, partnering with phenomenal growers who are dedicated to cultivating unique varieties. Chrissy Wittmann and her team of winemakers collaborate with this family of growers, visiting each vineyard site throughout the year to carefully assess the style and quality of every lot to make the best possible wine from each vintage.

It Was Inspired By A Sketch From The 1800s

The Prisoner Wine Company based its entire brand mission on a single sketch from the 1800s drawn by Spanish artist Francisco de Goya. The sketch, which was given to Phinney as a gift from his parents at age 12, served as a visual protest against the injustice and brutality of the Spanish War of Independence. The Prisoner Wine Company continues to be inspired by the drawing, using it as a constant reminder to never be complacent or restricted by rules and traditions.

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Unquenchable: A Tipsy Search

; Best Books of the Year

Natalie MacLean is a new force in the wine writing world ‐ a feisty North American answer to Hugh Johnson and Jancis Robinson. She can write beautifully about wine.

The Financial Times of London

There are very few people in the wine world who “get it” and Natalie is one of those who brings more fun to a buttoned-up and stodgy game.

Gary Vaynerchuck, Wine Library TV

Or Check Out The Conversation Here

Ruth

Zach Geballe: From Seattle, Wash., Im Zach Geballe. And this is a VinePair Podcast Next Round conversation. Were bringing you these episodes in between our regular podcasts so we can explore a broader range of issues and stories in the drinks world. Today, Im speaking with Chrissy Wittman, the director of winemaking at The Prisoner Wine Company in Napa Valley. Chrissy, thank you so much for your time.

Chrissy Wittman: Oh, thank you, Zach for inviting me.

Z: I want to start by talking about your own background and how you ended up in wine and then at The Prisoner. How did your career in wine get started?

C: Well, I certainly didnt grow up around any grapevines.

Z: OK.

C: I grew up in beautiful downtown Burbank in Southern California with two parents who really didnt consume a lot of alcohol at all. And what my dad did consume was jug wine. Thats what I remember growing up. Then, I went away to college at Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo in pursuit of a degree in physical education or kinesiology. Just along with my travels throughout college, I decided thats not what I wanted to do, so I changed to environmental science. That was really interesting. However, when I graduated, I didnt really want to go back to L.A., and there werent a ton of positions supporting where I was at. Yet, I ended up landing a job analyzing soil and wastewater, which is very glamorous.

Z: Im sure.

Z: Gotcha.

Z: Gotcha.

Z: Do you remember the first time you tried The Prisoner?

Z: OK.

Z: Gotcha.

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Constellation Brands To Buy Napa Valleys The Prisoner Wine Co For $285m

Constellation Brands Inc. said it has agreed to acquire The Prisoner Wine Companys portfolio of brands from Napa-based Huneeus Vintners.

The portfolio includes five fine wine brands led by The Prisoner, a fast-growing super luxury wine, and also includes Saldo, Cuttings, Blindfold and Thorn. The cash paid at closing for the deal is expected to be about $285 million. The transaction is expected to close by the end of this month and boost Constellation’s earnings per share by 3 cents to 5 cents in fiscal 2017.

This would be the second major purchase of North Coast brands by Victor, N.Y.-based Constellation in the past 12 months. The company bought the Meiomi brand from Joseph Wagners Rutherford-based Copper Cane LLC in August for $315 million.

Constellation said The Prisoner Wine Company is a fast-growing, super-luxury portfolio of five highly rated wine brands that have grown volumes at an annual rate of 30 percent over the last three years to reach 175,000 cases in 2015.

This acquisition aligns with our portfolio premiumization strategy, enables us to capitalize on U.S. market trends that favor high-end wine brands and strengthens our position in the dynamic and margin enhancing super-luxury wine category, said Rob Sands, president and chief executive officer of Constellation Brands.

The Prisoner has a track record of 90-plus-point scores and has been a Wine Spectator Top 100 wine three times.

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