Taste Napa wines at Avon’s vin48 Wednesday

Jim Phelps

If you go ...

What: Vin48 Summer Tasting Series with Jim Phelps of Joseph Phelps Vineyards.

Where: Vin48 patio, Avon.

When: 5 to 6:30 p.m. Wednesday.

Cost: $25 includes food and wine tasting.

More information: Call 970-748-WINE.

AVON — Jim Phelps of Joseph Phelps Vineyards visits vin48 in Avon tonight to kick off the restaurant’s Summer Tasting Series.

Phelps, the western sales manager, will pour the sought-after Joseph Phelps Cabernet and Sauvignon Blanc as well as the Phelps FogDog wines from the Sonoma Coast. Charles Hays, vin48’s chef and owner, will pair the wines with appetizers on the restaurant’s patio.

The event is part of the restaurant’s Summer Tasting Series, which takes place every Wednesday and features winemakers/importers from the world’s best wine growing regions. The wines are paired with Hays’ cuisine. The event is $25, which includes wine tasting and appetizers. All wines served are available at discounted prices from series partner Beaver Liquors in Avon.


In the late 1960s, Joseph Phelps was running one of the largest construction companies in the U.S., Hensel Phelps Construction Co., when he won the bid to build Souverain Winery (now Rutherford Hill), located a few miles outside of St. Helena. Enamored with the beautiful Napa Valley and contemplating a career change, in 1973 he bought the 600-acre Connolly cattle ranch in Spring Valley and began planting vineyards and construction of a winery. The first harvest in 1973 yielded cabernet sauvignon, pinot noir and Johannisburg riesling bottlings, all custom crushed at nearby wineries. The Joseph Phelps winery was completed in 1974, in time for harvest, crushing grapes for the first Insignia and the first Syrah bottlings.

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Over the years, the goal of becoming 100 percent estate grown resulted in carefully planned acquisitions of prime vineyards in the Napa Valley. Today, the Phelps estate consists of the Spring Valley Home Ranch outside of St. Helena, Banca Dorada in Rutherford, Backus Vineyard in Oakville, Las Rocas and Barboza vineyards in Stags Leap, Yountville Vineyard in Oak Knoll, Suscol Vineyard in South Napa and Larry Hyde & Sons Vineyard in Carneros.

Estate-grown wines include cabernet sauvignon, sauvignon blanc, viognier, Insignia, Cabernet Sauvignon Backus Vineyard (the single vineyard cabernet sauvignon from Oakville) and Eisrebe, a dessert wine made from the Scheurebe grape. Additionally, estate-grown Syrah was produced from the Larry Hyde & Sons Vineyard in 2012.

Joseph Phelps had a life-long love affair with the wines of Burgundy and a desire to craft wines in that style. Originally pinot noir and chardonnay were sourced from St. Helena, later from Yountville and then from Carneros. Through the years, however, he continued to search for the ideal spot to grow both grapes. His search ended when the perfect combination of climate, soil and location was found in Freestone, located in the Sonoma Coast AVA, a mere six miles from the Pacific Ocean. In 1999, he began developing 100 acres of vineyards just outside of Freestone. In 2005, construction began on a new winery which was completed in time for the 2007 harvest. Today, 80 acres of pnot noir and 20 acres of chardonnay produce remarkable estate-grown wines bearing the Joseph Phelps name.

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