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 massive 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.
Long known for his innovative spirit and passion for quality, 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 Rhône-style wines was introduced which today inclu
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