The Prisoner is one of Napa Valley’s biggest success stories, created in 2000 by legendary winemaker David Phinney. You’ll likely recognise this rule-breaking red blend from the imposing Goya etching, Le Petit Prisonnier,’ on its label, given to Phinney by his parents at age 12. The visual protest in the image speaks to the brand’s rebellious, trailblazing style and the desire for creative freedom from tradition.
Initially created as a 385 case brand, and at a time when most brands were focused on single varietals, The Prisoner’s big Zinfandel heart with splashes of other varietals inspired a cult following. Copycat blends have been playing catch-up ever since.
Our brief was to extend The Prisoner range into new wine varietals, leveraging the unmistakable power of the image as an asset.
It was important that the original red blend label remain untouched. New varietals needed to retain the strength of The Prisoner branding, but not use the same Goya etching and they needed to clearly differentiate between varietals.
The brand has always approached winemaking differently, with a focus on people and contemporary tastes, not critics. With that bold thinking in mind, for us, the solution was intuitive: create new positions that captured the same solitary figure in his pursuit of freedom.
We partnered with etching artist Mike Moor, whose artistic approach is influenced by the dark works of Goya. To ensure he had accurate reference to create his etchings from, we commissioned photographer Guy Davies to capture various poses of a contemporary dancer in a recreation of The Prisoner. Moor’s process entailed sketching from photographs, through to the final etching and print-making, presenting us with several unique artworks for each varietal label.
The range of wines respectfully pays homage to Goya’s work, extending the range consistently and in turn winning over fans to continue their Prisoner Wine journey through other varietals.