It was the first wine Dave Phinney ever made for Orin Swift. A notoriously difficult style to perfect. So painstaking to create that it would be eight years before he would attempt to make a Zinfandel again.
But when he returned to making Zinfandel after nearly a decade, it was absolute vindication. An undeniable blend that he calls the most personal of any wine he has made. The end of exile. A return to the start.
Something of a poet, Phinney has dubbed this wine Eight Years in the Desert, a celebration of time away and coming back to the foundations of Orin Swift.
Orin Swift Cellars is a leading maker of fine American wines, renowned for their quality and their eye-catching labels. This varietal, Eight Years in the Desert, is especially treasured. The wine itself is an exacting blend of Zinfandel, Syrah, and Petite Sirah. Each of the eight individual bottles in the set are adorned with their own hand-made, mixed media label.
Given the care and attention put into this product, it was only appropriate that a custom wine box of the highest caliber was made. But there’s a bit of a catch- it wasn’t just one bottle of wine that needed a box- it was eight. And therein lies the triumph of this project.
Bottles of wine, if you’ve had any experience, are heavy. Not to mention fragile. And the more crowded they are in an enclosed space, the more they tend to clink and clash. So how do you fit eight bottles of highly coveted wine in a box?
An oversized tray in three panel folder composed entirely of Eskaboard holds the Eight Years in the Desert set. Typically, we at Portfoliobox would put such a product in a wood frame box for its sturdy structure. But Eska is a durable alternative to a wood framed box, appropriate here for its comparatively light weight.
In this box, we were not only accommodating the size of the bottles, but also had to consider the overall mass. Eight bottles of wine are heavy enough on their own, and a wood frame would only add to that. So, lighter paper-based Eskaboard was chosen for its tough rigid structure.
A bit of ingenuity comes into play when arranging the Eight Years in the Desert bottles. A three-tiered system of removable trays was our solution to fitting all the product as well as the collateral.
The large tray in three panel folder box itself, wrapped in black Verona paper-backed linen material. A magnetic closure on the lid adds a touch of luxury. A little resistance when opening the box that indicates a protected product within. After pulling back the magnetic lid, the multitude of contents contained in the custom wine box becomes apparent.
We are first greeted with a shallow lift out tray which contains a limited edition booklet from Orin Swift. The interior is lined with that same Verona linen, now in a shade reminiscent of the desert itself- a sandy beige hue. With ribbon pulls on either side, this first tray is easily removed to provide access to the next level, a custom insert to hold four bottles of that precious Zinfandel blend.
The bottles are separated by their own unique trays to prevent collision, and these individual trays are also lined in sandy Verona. Thanks to handles on either side of the tray, the insert is easily removable.
Finally, this same removable tray of four wine bottles is echoed again at the bottom of the custom wine box. But it wasn’t for lack of creativity on our behalf. This third tray is glued to the base to provide necessary structural support to the entire piece.
Accommodating eight bottles of wine in a paperboard box is not the easiest of tasks. It required creativity, collaboration, and expertise to get this project right, but we could not be more proud of the results. The culmination of a wine making odyssey deserved a fitting tribute to the journey.