Founded in 1972, Joseph Phelps Vineyards is an independent, estate-based winery located outside of St. Helena. Perched on a knoll in bucolic Spring Valley, the graceful redwood winery overlooks vineyard-studded hills, the town of St. Helena and the Mayacamas Mountains to the west.
After years of studying the complex relationship between wine quality and place, and understanding the importance of "terroir," Phelps has developed estate-owned vineyards in the premiere growing regions of Stag's Leap, Rutherford, Oakville, Oak Knoll and the eastern foothills of Napa. In Sonoma County, an ambitious project was undertaken in 1999 to purchase land and develop vineyards along the western frontier of the Sonoma Coast, and today Phelps has 80 acres of Pinot Noir and 20 acres of Chardonnay planted in Freestone. A small winery in the midst of the Freestone vineyards is currently under construction.
Varietals produced annually at Phelps include Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon, Backus Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon, Insignia (one of California's most successful first growth luxury blends), Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, several Rh?ne-style wines, and a luscious dessert wine made from Scheurebe.
Annual production fluctuates between 65-80,000 cases, and it is a source of pride that 90% of all wine produced comes from estate-owned vineyards. Joe Phelps pioneered a number of "firsts" in the early years of the winery. The 1974 Insignia — released in the spring of 1978 — was the first Bordeaux-style blend produced in California under a proprietary label. The release of the 1974 Syrah in 1977 sparked industry-wide interest in a remarkable French varietal whose plantings in California had disappeared and been virtually forgotten for over half a century. And in 1990, after years of research, a whole new family of Rh?ne-style wines was introduced which today includes Syrah, Viognier and a Chateauneuf-du-Pape style blend called Le Mistral.
|Winemaker: Ashley Hepworth|