Director of Vineyard Operations
“I am so inspired by my grandfather. He was a man of passion and vision. He never settled.”
As the grandson of Joe Phelps, Will Phelps grew up with more than a passing interest in wine. In fact, one of Will’s early memories is of Joe taking him into his wine cellar and showing him how to decant an old bottle with the light of a candle. But it wasn’t until Will worked the 2008 harvest at Domaine E. Guigal in the Northern Rhone Valley of France that he became determined to pursue a career in wine.
“That’s when I fell in love with it. I had the wonderful opportunity to work with Philippe Guigal, and I began reading everything I could about wine. It was an invaluable experience to be able to apply what I was learning the very next day with one of the most renowned winemakers in the world.”
When Will returned from France he was encouraged to get experience outside of his family’s winery, and he quickly landed a position as Regional Sales Manager for Trinitas Cellars covering Southern California and the Midwest. After three years there, Will and his wife, Amanda, went to South Africa to work the 2012 harvest at Paul Cluver Winery in Elgin Valley.
With both sales and winemaking experience under his belt, Will was welcomed to Joseph Phelps Vineyards in 2012, the second third-generation family member to join the winery. He spent the next four years as a Sales Representative supporting the sales and distribution of Joseph Phelps wines in California. In 2016 Will joined the winery’s leadership team and was promoted to Director of Marketing. In 2017 he was promoted to Director of Hospitality & Consumer Sales, overseeing the winery’s direct-to-consumer sales efforts. Continuing his leadership path within the family’s wine business, in 2021 Will joined the Joseph Phelps vineyard team as Director of Vineyard Operations, working closely with the winery’s Napa Valley and Sonoma Coast vineyard and winemaking teams.
“I am so inspired by my grandfather. He was a man of passion and vision. He never settled. He was constantly striving for excellence, in the vineyard, in the cellar, and in business. Today, it is our job to take what he left us and enhance it.”
Will graduated from the University of San Diego with a degree in Business Administration and received an Executive Wine MBA from Sonoma State University in 2015. In 2022, Will successfully completed Napa Valley Vintners’ inaugural Napa Leadership Program, which brought 16 leaders from across Napa Valley together to hone their leadership skills, and ultimately aid in the launch of a new symposium called Napa Thrives. He currently serves on the boards of the Winegrowers of Napa County, Ole Health Foundation, the Patron Foundation, Aleph Surf International, and the Associate Board of the Boys & Girls Club of Napa Valley. Will and his wife, Amanda, live in Napa with their four daughters.
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