Joseph Phelps Vineyards

Our Napa Valley harvest continues.


Joseph Phelps Vineyards is a family-owned winery committed to crafting world class, estate-grown wines for over 40 years.

Location Description

Located in the heart of Saint Helena, California.


  • Crafting world class, estate-grown wines.

Additional Information

  • Meeting / Conference Facilities:
  • Caves:
  • Wedding Facilities:
  • Picnic Facilities:
  • Dog Friendly:
  • Winery Tours:
  • Wine Tasting:
  • Art or Architecture:
  • Organic / Biodynamic:
  • Awards:
  • Wine Club:
  • Lodging / Bed & Breakfast:


Ashley Hepworth
Winemaker, Napa Valley

Ashley joined Phelps in 1999 as a harvest intern and stayed on to become a laboratory technician and enologist. In 2004 she became Associate Winemaker, working closely with Damian overseeing day-to-day winemaking operations, and in October of 2008 was promoted to Winemaker.

Ashley attended Fort Lewis College in Durango, Colorado where she earned a B.S. in Biology and a minor in Chemistry. Her passion for wine is matched by her love of fine food, and her college years were marked by positions in the kitchens of some of Durango’s finest restaurants, and later with the celebrated chef Charlie Trotter in Chicago.

Justin Ennis
Winemaker, Freestone

Justin Ennis joined the Joseph Phelps team in 2007 as Cellar master in Freestone, after nine years as Cellar master for William Selyem Winery in Healdsburg, as well as Harvest Supervisor and Cellar master for wineries in New Zealand and Argentina, respectively.

Justin was promoted to Assistant Winemaker in 2011 and is responsible for all day-to-day winery activities at the Freestone estate, working in tandem with Damian Parker in all aspects of Sonoma Coast Chardonnay and Pinot Noir production for Joseph Phelps Vineyards. In February 2014, he was promoted to Winemaker.


Founded in 1973 when Joe Phelps purchased a former cattle ranch near St. Helena in the Napa Valley, the winery now controls and farms nearly 375 acres of vines on eight estate vineyards in St. Helena, the Stags Leap District, Oakville, Rutherford, Oak Knoll District, Carneros and South Napa Valley. In 1999, the Phelps family added 100 acres of vineyard property near the town of Freestone on the Sonoma Coast, where Phelps now grows Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. Phelps is best known for its flagship Napa Valley blend of red Bordeaux varietals, Insignia, first produced in 1974. Awarded Wine Spectator’s “Wine of the Year” in 2005, Insignia is widely regarded as a qualitative benchmark for California winemaking.

The Team

Kelly Fields
Assistant Winemaker, Napa Valley

Kelly joined Phelps in May 2005 as Laboratory Technician/Quality Control Specialist. She was promoted to Enologist in 2007 and in 2011, promoted to Assistant Winemaker. Kelly assists with the planning and coordination of all Napa Valley winemaking processes in the cellar from harvest through bottling. She maintains all winemaking quality standards and procedures in the lab and cellar as well as supervises all bottling activities.

After completing her Bachelor's degree in Microbiology at the University of California at San Diego, she began her career at Scripps Research Institute where she was involved with medical research specifically related to cancer and amyloid proteins. Kelly is a Napa native and enjoys the outdoors, traveling and spending time with her family.

Bill Phelps

Bill represents the Phelps family in Joseph Phelps Vineyards today and develops and implements long-term strategic plans for the winery and vineyard operations in both Napa and western Sonoma County.

Bill moved to the Napa Valley in 1998, after practicing law for 20 years, primarily in the investment banking industry. Born in 1954, he is a graduate of Colorado College and the University of California’s Hastings College of Law.

Bill also works with his father, Joe Phelps, in a variety of business interests, and serves on the boards of the Land Trust of Napa County and the Community Foundation of the Napa Valley.

Joe Phelps

In 1973, Joe Phelps founded the winery that bears his name after having spent many years presiding over the expansion of a small local construction firm into a nationally prominent organization.

After three decades of participating in the day-to-day winery operations, in November of 2005, Joe stepped down as Chairman and the Board of Directors elected Joe’s son, Bill, in his place.

Today, as Chairman Emeritus, Joe continues to provide leadership and inspiration to the management team while taking time off to travel and enjoy the fruits of many years’ labor.

Practices & Techniques

Compost Preparations:

The biodynamic compost preparations are all made from healthy plant materials, such as chamomile flowers or nettle leaves. After being prepared in various ways, they are used to stimulate the healthy composting of organic matter and manures. Biodynamic composts made with these preparations have been shown to mature better, more evenly and offer better humus development than without.

The Field Sprays:

The biodynamic field sprays, often referred to as 500 and 501, are made from concentrated manure and concentrated quartz, respectively. They are designed to stimulate healthy germination, growth and reproductive capacity on the one hand and healthy maturation (blossom, fruit and seed development) while increasing the actual nutritive qualities on the other. They are sprayed in very light, homeopathic dosages 3-5 times a season and have been shown to make a huge difference in supporting natural health and productivity.

The Foliar Sprays:

The biodynamic foliar sprays we use are primarily of single plant extraction (nettles, chamomile, horsetail, etc.) made into teas (gentle warming process) and sprayed at relatively small dosages on the leaves of our crops as a nutritional boost. For example, nettles are high in iron and nitrogen. These foliar sprays complement our efforts to provide our crops with appropriate amounts of compost and soil care to enable most of the plant nutrition to come from the soil.

Biodynamic Calendars:

Another important topic in biodynamics is the effort to use so-called ‘planting calendars.’ There are several different calendars available that suggest various times and dates to best plant, weed, spray, transplant, and harvest. Although these attempts to work with the rhythms of time in our vineyards are interesting, many of these calendars have overly complex, impractical suggestions. For now, we are simply observing the various larger cycles (such as the sun’s rhythms that cause the change in seasons and the moon’s rhythms that also effect plant growth), to see if we can discern firsthand the effects in our vineyards. We are trying to implement age-old, simple suggestions (also recommended by Rudolf Steiner) as follows:

a. Before the full moon, utilize farming practices that have to do with reproduction and growth (planting, grafting, transplanting, fertilizing).

b. Before the new moon, follow protocols that relate to maturation and nutritive quality (pruning, weeding, harvesting).

Estate Vineyards / AVA


Spring Valley Home Ranch:

Appellation: St. Helena
Location: Off the Silverado Tr. S.E. of St. Helena on Taplin Rd.
Acreage & varietals: 119 acres of Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec, Petit Verdot, Sauvignon Blanc, Viognier and Scheurebe.
Soil: On lower blocks: Bale clay loam; silty clay with good moisture retention; volcanic.
Exposure: Afternoon sun radiates hills.
Unique features: Hillside and valley floor terrain offer two distinct microclimates for growing a diverse selection of grapes.
History: In 1973, Joe Phelps bought a 600-acre cattle ranch and planted 160 acres of vines.
Wines: Cabernet Sauvignon, Insignia, Viognier, Eisrébe and Sauvignon Blanc.

Las Rocas:

Appellation: Stags Leap District
Location: East side of Silverado Trail beneath the Stags Leap Palisades.
Acreage & varietals: 40 acres Cabernet Sauvignon.
Soil: Bale soil series; slightly acidic, gravelly old riverbed soils; alluvial soils built up from mountains.
Exposure: Somewhat protected from afternoon sun.
Unique features: Stags Leap wines have a “regional” personality distinguished by intense berry and cassis flavors, a smooth “velvety” texture, and the ability to age gracefully.
History: Phelps purchased the property in 1983 and began redevelopment that same year.
Wines: Insignia and Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon.
Additional Details: Las Rocas is Spanish for "The Rocks"


Appellation: Stags Leap District
Location: South of Yountville Crossroad on the west side of Silverado Trail.
Acreage & varietals: 15 acres Cabernet Sauvignon; 1.5 acres Petit Verdot.
Soil: Bale soil series; alluvial; silty clay with good moisture retention; volcanic.
History: Vineyard operated by the Barboza family since 1947. Phelps signed a long-term lease to farm the property in 1997.
Wines: Insignia and Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon.


Appellation: Oakville
Location: South of Oakville Crossroad on the east side of Silverado Trail.
Acreage & varietals: 20 acres Cabernet Sauvignon, 1 acre Petit Verdot, 1 acre Malbec.
Soil: Boomer gravelly loam composed of old rhyolitic bedrock.
Exposure: Afternoon sun radiates hills.
Unique features: Red-colored soil and long hours of sunlight retain heat; steeply terraced, 25% slope; well-drained, rocky soil imparts rich tannins and flavors of chocolate, berry and mineral.
History: Originally planted in 1975, Phelps held a long-term lease on the property from 1977 to 1996, after which he purchased the entire parcel.
Wines: Backus Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon.

Banca Dorada:

Appellation: Rutherford
Location: West of Hwy. 29 off Manley Lane in the southwestern corner of the Rutherford appellation.
Acreage & varietals: 34 acres of Cabernet Sauvignon.
Soil: Bale soil series. Alluvial silty clay with high moisture retention; deep fertility; slow runoff; slightly acidic.
Exposure: Its location on the west side of the valley is more protected from afternoon sun than the east side.
Unique features: Many years ago the term “Rutherford dust” was coined to describe the unique flavors derived from this terroir.
History: Phelps purchased the property in 1983 and began redevelopment that same year.
Wines: Insignia, Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon.
Additional Details: Banca Dorada is Spanish for " The Golden Bench"


Appellation: Oak Knoll Area
Location: Midway between Yountville and Napa off Hwy. 29.
Acreage & varietals: 24 acres Merlot, 24 acres Cabernet Sauvignon.
Soil: Cobble silt loam on an old alluvial fan with good moisture retention and slow runoff.
Unique features: Deep gravelly and fertile soils contribute to the balance of these wines.
History: This was Phelps’ first grape source in 1973, planted mainly to Johannisberg Riesling. The vineyard was purchased from the Stanton estate in 1979 and redeveloped in 1984 due to phylloxera. In 1993 and 2002 redevelopment occurred again to what is now the current vineyard composition.
Wines: Insignia and Cabernet Sauvignon.


Appellatio: South Napa Valley
Location: East side of Napa-Vallejo Highway in southern Napa at the base of the Vaca Mountains.
Acreage & varietals: 86 acres Cabernet Sauvignon, 5 acres Cabernet Franc, 2 acres Malbec.
Soil: On lower blocks: Haire soil series; acidic soils on old terraces and alluvial fans; moderately well-drained with slow permeability. Upper blocks: More rocks contributing to better drainage.
Unique features: Early morning summer fog is mitigated by cool afternoon breezes coming off San Pablo Bay. Conservation easements on the property preserve wetlands created by Arroyo Creek and maintain wildlife corridors.
History: The property was purchased in 1999 as part of a long-range plan to produce 100% estate-grown wines. Our first harvest from this vineyard in 2005 yielded such high quality Cabernet that several lots were blended into the Insignia.
Wines: Cabernet Sauvignon and Insignia.

Larry Hyde & Sons Vineyard:

Appellation: Carneros, Napa Valley
Location: South Carneros off Bay View Avenue.
Acreage & varietals: 5 acres Syrah, 2 acres Viognier
Soil: Clay loam from the Haire series.
Unique features: This vineyard is situated in a hilly vein of old terraces with close proximity to the marine influences of the San Pablo Bay. It receives morning fog and mild afternoon temperatures for a long, even growing season.
History: This vineyard was planted in 2001 and 2006 and field budded with a variety of Syrah and Viognier selections. We started working with this vineyard in 2009 and beginning with the 2011 vintage, is under a long-term Estate Vineyard contract.
Wines: Larry Hyde & Sons Vineyard Syrah and Viognier


Pastorale Vineyard:

Appellation: Sonoma Coast
Location: Freestone area of the Sonoma Coast on the east side of the Bohemian Highway on the fringe of the Russian River Valley. The Pastorale Vineyard surrounds the winery and lies eight miles inland from the Pacific Ocean. This location benefits from the long, cool growing season which is strongly influenced by fog and other maritime influences.
Acreage & varietals: 89 total acres, 55.5 planted to vines: 34.67 acres of Pinot Noir and 20.87 acres of Chardonnay.
Soil: Goldridge Series and sandy loam
History: The Phelps family and management team of Joseph Phelps Vineyards began developing 100 acres of vineyards near Freestone, CA in 1999 with the goal of producing world-class Pinot Noir and Chardonnay.
Wines: Joseph Phelps Pinot Noir, Freestone Vineyards and Joseph Phelps Pinot Noir, Pastorale Vineyard. Joseph Phelps Chardonnay, Freestone Vineyards and Joseph Phelps Chardonnay, Pastorale Vineyard

Quarter Moon Vineyard:

Appellation: Sonoma Coast
Location: Freestone area of the Sonoma Coast on the west side of the Bohemian Highway. Quarter Moon Vineyard lies on a south-facing slope at an elevation of up to 500 feet, above the fog line and only 5 miles, as the crow flies, from the Pacific Ocean. Its elevation and proximity to the ocean provides good solar radiation during the growing season. Cool, coastal breezes help to dry out moisture in the air left from morning fog. Dramatic changes in elevation, including slopes of 2 to 50 percent, result in moderately well-drained soils, medium runoff and slow permeability.
Acreage & varietals: 92 acres, 41 acres planted to Pinot Noir
Soil: Goldridge Series and sandy loam
History: The Phelps family and management team of Joseph Phelps Vineyards began developing 100 acres of vineyards near Freestone, CA in 1999 with the goal of producing world-class Pinot Noir and Chardonnay.
Wines: Joseph Phelps Pinot Noir, Freestone Vineyards and Joseph Phelps Pinot Noir, Quarter Moon Vineyard


The 2002 vintage was awarded “Wine of the Year” by Wine Spectator magazine in 2005 and in November 2013, Robert Parker of The Wine Advocate awarded three perfect 100 point scores to the 1991, 1997 and 2002 vintages of Insignia

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HOURS OF OPERATION: Mon-Fri: 9 am- 5 pm Sat, Sun: 10 am- 4 pm


200 Taplin Rd.
St Helena, California 94574
United States

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