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Get Your Tickets: Take Two with Dave Phinney at the Orin Swift Tasting Room June 23, 2024. Book Now.




JANUARY 16 2024


“The historical society loves us” Dave explained, laughing, but also completely serious. Most of the time, it’s a struggle to preserve the historic charm of small California downtowns like St. Helena. But with the new tasting room, Dave gave them a surprising gift. As the team stripped away the century of accumulated architectural ornamentation, they revealed a beautifully preserved art deco facade, hand crafted in the early 1920s. So few photos of the original building existed, the Historical Society didn’t even realize the full extent of the gem hidden behind the aging stone. Before they could ask, Dave assured them it would not be covered up. “We wanted to honor the history of the building. Most of that was done by hand, so you can’t reproduce it.” (St. Helena Star)

Originally a bank, the building was over engineered. The concrete walls are so thick, the building didn’t require any retrofitting for contemporary earthquake safety standards. Dave’s father would say, “it’s built like a brick shit house,” though, surely the architects at the Historical Society may use more technical terms, they would undoubtedly agree with the sentiment.

Find things to do in Saint Helena, California

Designing the interior was an act of addition by subtraction. Every surface was brought back to its natural materials. Dave gave the simple mandate: if it’s not concrete, paint it black. If this was a movie, the Rolling Stones would play over a timelapse of the space transforming to a palette of black and gray. With the base set, the space was filled with warm woods sourced across California, crisp steel and glass, and rich leather. Finally, the art. Both by and from Dave, the collection brings color and attitude throughout the space.

The new space is right next to our old space. The original Orin Swift tasting room felt like a narrow alley, because that’s what it originally was. A decade ago, space between buildings was transformed, last year it evolved again. Now it serves as the venue for Scissors, the most elevated OSC tasting experience. The intimate space is perfect for 1:1 and small group tastings. Iconic details have remained untouched. Dave felt it was important that the Tasting Room “unveil its layers the deeper you look and further back you go into the space.” (Mens Journal)

The hand selected salvaged wood wall still meets the patinated battleship steel wall. The newspapered floor, inspired by a Sunday morning when Dave noticed the ‘Time’ magazine scattered across the floor while cleaning the stone wall, remains a signature feature. In fact, newspaper now covers the front window. Up close, you’ll notice articles about landing on the moon, specifically sourced by Dave. Inconspicuous, but immaculately considered details define Dave’s approach. Actual scissors, all vintage, from across the world punctuate the front windows. They serve the dual role of signage and public art.

Find things to do in Saint Helena, California

The new space, coupled with the reimagined old space, allows OSC to offer a full spectrum of experiences. From the highly curated Scissors experience, to the luxurious and considered Paper and Vault, to the casual drop-in Rock tasting, it was important to Dave that we make room for everyone.

Book a visit, or drop by, and we’ll show you what we’ve done with the place.

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