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Joseph Phelps Vineyards, an iconic Napa Valley winery with holdings in Sonoma County, has new ownership. Dan Berger is in the studio today for a special edition of California Wine Country, to talk about the deal with Harry Duke.
Moët-Chandon is the new owner. It is the champagne brand that is part of the French LVMH portfolio of companies. That company was created from a merger between them and Hennessey, the cognac company. Then they acquired Louis Vuitton and branched into luxury goods. So now LVMH is a luxury goods brand 80 billions dollars in size.
Joseph Phelps was a contractor in the Denver area who moved to Napa Valley in the late 1970s and bought a property off of the Silverado trail. It is beautiful and secluded. He also acquired some of the best vineyards in the southern half of the Napa Valley.
Their wines are “sensational” says Dan. They were one of the first Napa companies to acquire property in Sonoma County specifically to produce Chardonnay and Pinot Noir.
The company owns wine properties all over France and now they have an excellent foothold in California. Phelps has always made exemplary Cabernet Sauvignon, which has always been undervalued. Dan Berger believes this is good for the industry as long as the new owners do not change the style of the house.