In 1973, Joe Phelps bought a 600-acre Connolly cattle ranch in Spring Valley, just outside of St. Helena, and began planting vineyards and building a winery. The winery construction was completed in 1974 and that same year the first grapes were crushed at the new facility and the first vintage of Insignia was produced.
Insignia is the first proprietary Bordeaux-style blend produced in California. Each vintage is comprised of the best grapes from Joseph Phelps Vineyards, first from both grower and estate fruit, and beginning with the 2004 vintage, from entirely estate-grown fruit sources. Insignia is a Cabernet Sauvignon based wine crafted from six of the Joseph Phelps estate vineyards: Spring Valley Ranch Vineyard in St. Helena, Banca Dorada Vineyard on the Rutherford Bench, Las Rocas and Barboza Vineyards in the Stags Leap District, Yountville Vineyard in the Oak Knoll District and Suscol Vineyard in South Napa Valley.
Nearly forty years after the inaugural vintage, Insignia is recognized as one of the world’s great wines. The 2002 vintage was awarded “Wine of the Year” by Wine Spectator magazine in 2005 and the 2009 Insignia marks the twentieth consecutive vintage to earn a 90+ point score from Robert Parker’s The Wine Advocate.