About

A Family-Owned Estate

Joseph Phelps Vineyards is a family-owned and operated wine estate with vineyards and wineries in Napa Valley and on the western Sonoma Coast. The winery was founded in 1973 by Joseph Phelps, a successful construction executive and entrepreneur whose early interest in wine led him to establish vineyards on a 670-acre former cattle ranch in Napa Valley. Over the next 42 years Joe became one of the most respected figures in the California wine industry, building Joseph Phelps Vineyards into a critically-acclaimed winery internationally known for its iconic wines and unwavering commitment to quality. Joe’s son, Bill Phelps, joined the family business in 1998 after a successful career in law, and as Executive Chairman now oversees Joseph Phelps Vineyards with a continued dedication to excellence. The winery’s Board of Directors includes Joe’s daughters, Leslie, Laurie and Lynn. In 2016, third generation family members Elizabeth Neuman, Director of Business Development, and Will Phelps, the winery’s Director of Marketing, were appointed to the winery’s executive management team, and Allie Phelps joined the winery’s hospitality team. Today, the Phelps family is committed to maintaining and nurturing Joseph Phelps Vineyards as a family-owned and run winery and to extending the extraordinary legacy of its founder, Joe Phelps.

Napa Valley & Sonoma Coast: 100% Estate Grown

Every wine in the Joseph Phelps portfolio is 100% estate-grown, overseen from grape to bottle by our dedicated winegrowing team. Our family owns and farms 390 acres of vines in Napa Valley on eight estate vineyards in St. Helena, Rutherford, Oakville, the Stags Leap District, the Oak Knoll District, South Napa and Carneros, as well as 100 acres over two vineyards on the western Sonoma Coast. Strategically chosen over many decades, each vineyard has its own personality and brings a different characteristic to our wines. The decision to become 100% estate-grown was made in 2006 and fully implemented by the harvest of 2009. The effort meant reducing the volume of wines we produce substantially, yet our commitment to the estate-grown model is our way of ensuring consistency and the highest quality we can possibly achieve. Our estate vineyards give our winemaking teams unparalleled depth and diversity when it comes to producing Joseph Phelps wines.

Our Wines: A History of Innovation and Excellence

Since 1973 Joseph Phelps Vineyards has dedicated itself to producing wines of character, quality and significance. Our pioneering efforts with Rhone varietals led to California’s earliest Syrah and Rhone-style blends, setting the stage for the movement that came to be known as the Rhone Rangers. Our late harvest Johannisberg Rieslings and more recently, Eisrébe, made with estate-grown Scheurebe grapes in the style of German ice wine, have exemplified California’s potential for dessert wines. On the western Sonoma Coast, our Pinot Noirs and Chardonnays are part of the movement bringing recognition and acclaim to this cool climate growing region. But it is Insignia, our flagship wine and California’s first proprietary red Bordeaux-style blend, which has earned Joseph Phelps its longstanding reputation for excellence. With over forty vintages in the bottle, Insignia is widely recognized as one of the most iconic wines in Napa Valley, earning favorable critical reviews vintage after vintage. The 2002 vintage was awarded “Wine of the Year” by Wine Spectator magazine in 2005, and in November 2013, Robert M. Parker, Jr. of The Wine Advocate awarded Insignia three perfect 100-point scores for the 1991, 1997 and 2002 vintages, calling it “one of the world’s finest Cabernet Sauvignon-dominated blends."

Dedicated to Sustainability

As a family that has been nurtured by the land and our community for decades, we are dedicated to managing Joseph Phelps Vineyards under the guiding principles of sustainability. To us, this encompasses a commitment to the long-term vitality of the people we work with, the land we farm and the community in which we live. We are proud and thankful for the many employees who have chosen to spend most, if not all, of their careers here; from vineyard workers to winemakers to tasting room employees and office staff, we could not be more grateful for the people who have devoted their time and energy to Joseph Phelps Vineyards.

Our regard for the environment means that our vineyards in Napa Valley and Sonoma Coast are farmed under sustainable guidelines designed to protect the health of the soils, the vines, and the plants and wildlife with which we share our land. Our vineyards have earned certification under the Napa Green and/or Fish Friendly Farming programs. In addition:

  • Our Home Ranch in St. Helena features hundreds of olive trees and dozens of fruit trees, naturally enhancing its biodiversity. We’ve also planted fruit trees in our Backus and Las Rocas Vineyards.
  • We keep bees on the Home Ranch to promote the health of the plants, trees and vines that grow there. Chickens on the ranch increase animal life and provide natural fertilizer for the vines.
  • We’ve installed owl and bluebird boxes in all of our vineyards, providing housing to birds that naturally limit vine pests and rodents.
  • In many years, over two hundred sheep are brought to our Home Ranch to mow down the cover crops in spring and naturally fertilize the vines.
  • We compost our grape skins and stems from harvest and use the compost to add nutrients to the soils in our vineyards.
  • We’ve installed solar panels on our Napa Valley winery to offset the majority of our energy needs.

Finally, as second and third generation members of the Phelps family we strive to walk in our father and grandfather’s footsteps through the Phelps Foundation, extending the legacy of active philanthropy which he practiced throughout his life. His commitment to Napa Valley, demonstrated by his donation of land both for farmworker housing and for a 480-acre conservation easement to the Land Trust of Napa County, is one that we wholeheartedly share.

A Tradition of Gracious Hospitality

Our Napa Valley winery in St. Helena, designed by renowned architect John Marsh Davis, has long been a cherished destination for wine lovers. A recent sixteen-month renovation of the original winery building maintained the signature exterior redwood design and trellis entryway, while repurposing the interior spaces to include a Great Hall, six well-appointed private tasting areas, a library of older vintages, a barrel room and a state-of-the-art kitchen. With an enhanced outdoor terrace, expanded vineyard views, and a variety of tasting experience options, Joseph Phelps’ Napa Valley winery offers an unparalleled visitor experience.

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