The Prisoner Wine Company
The Prisoner Wine Company takes an unconventional approach to winemaking by working with impassioned growers to source varietals from vineyards and appellations across California. Alongside a family of growers, The Prisoner winemaking team pushes boundaries as they craft a selection of unexpected, yet artful wines.
The Prisoner brand name and namesake wine was inspired by the classic sketch Le Petit Prisonier by 19th century Spanish artist Francisco Goya. The sketch is part of Goya’s series entitled, “The Disasters of War”, created to be a visual protest against the injustice and brutality of the Spanish War of Independence in 1808. From its founding, The Prisoner Wine Company has stood in solidarity with the fight against racism, mass incarceration and the systematic oppression of Black communities. They are committed to educating themselves, embracing diversity and creating an inclusive environment where all employees and business partners feel safe, respected and valued.
When their first wine, The Prisoner, was released two decades ago as a complex blend of some of California’s best and most unusual grape varieties, it swiftly and permanently changed the perception of what a red blend wine could be. Since then, they’ve grown to include a range of rule-bending blends with provocative label designs, being recognized by fans and wine critics alike as one of the most bold and innovative wine brands in the market, leading the resurgence of California luxury red blends and earning “cult” wine status.
Today, Director of Winemaking Chrissy Wittmann and her team work with over 100 growers in northern California, bringing together exceptional fruit to produce a family of intriguing wines unrestricted by tradition. The Prisoner Wine Company is located on the legendary Highway29 in Napa Valley and welcomes visitors year-round for unexpected, immersive experiences.
On a clay limestone hill in Prince Edward County, Norman Hardie’s passion for fine wine is put to the ultimate test.
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When the boldly curious founders decided to “experiment threely” and blend together a luscious threesome of distinctively different grapes into one wine, they knew it needed a name that would live up to this innovative, provocative blend. They called it Ménage à Trois. Not just because it was a revolutionary three-grape blend, but because like its taste it deserved a name that would never blend in.
Over the years, the Cakebread emerge from various difficulties such as vines dying from phylloxera. They’ve also built their library and started producing wines from more varietals – Merlot, Pinot Noir, Rubaiyat, etc. Expansion of their winery has also began as they start purchasing adjacent wineries and vineyards.