Sensing the limitless potential of the Napa Valley to grow the world’s finest wines, Joseph Phelps decided in 1973 to found his own wine business, to be known as Joseph Phelps Vineyards. In so doing, Joe became a leader in a remarkable group of entrepreneurs who launched a new era of excellence in California wine.
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.
In his later years, Joe held the title Chairman Emeritus, although he often referred to himself as “Chief Observer”. Joe’s memory continues to provide inspiration to the management and employees of Joseph Phelps Vineyards.
Joe Phelps was a leader, and one of the greats of the wine world." -Robert Parker, Jr.
Bill Phelps represents the second generation of Phelps family members in the wine business today. He is President of Joseph Phelps Vineyards, developing and implementing long-term strategic plans for the winery and vineyard operations in both Napa Valley and the western Sonoma Coast. Bill played an instrumental role in moving Joseph Phelps Vineyards to an entirely estate-grown wine producer and actively represents both wineries at a number of high profile wine festivals and fundraising events each year.
Bill moved to the Napa Valley in 1998, after practicing law for twenty years, primarily in the investment banking industry. He is a graduate of Colorado College and the University of California’s Hastings College of Law.
Bill is a past board member of the Land Trust of Napa County and the Community Foundation of the Napa Valley. He currently serves on the board of the Wine Service Co-Operative and is President of the St. Helena Choral Society.
He and his wife, Andrea, live in St. Helena. They have two children, Allie and Will.
Robert Boyd came to work for Joseph Phelps Vineyards in the spring of 2011 following a decade of both domestic and International Finance and Audit responsibilities for Jackson Family Enterprises, most recently Vice President of International Finance.
A native of Scotland, Robert is a Chartered Accountant and a graduate of Strathclyde University in Glasgow. He has overall financial responsibility for Joseph Phelps Vineyards.
Robert enjoys both watching and playing soccer (or football as he calls it), and spending time with friends over good food and wine.
Robert and his wife Claire reside in Santa Rosa with their two children.
A native of Maryland, Mike McEvoy moved west to join Joseph Phelps Vineyards as Director of Marketing in 2003 and in December 2005 was promoted to Vice President and Director of Sales.
Today, Mike is responsible for global sales, distribution, and marketing of Joseph Phelps wines. Mike is also a board member and past President of West Sonoma Coast Vintners. Prior to joining Phelps, Mike gained fifteen years of marketing and management experience on the East Coast.
Mike is a graduate of Washington & Lee University in Virginia and holds an MBA from the University of Baltimore. He successfully completed Level I of the Court of Master Sommeliers examination in 2004. Besides wine, Mike’s lifelong passions include football and playing guitar. Mike and his wife Gina reside in Napa with their three children.
Sam Burton joined Joseph Phelps Vineyards in the spring of 2015 as Vice President and Director of Operations. He has overall operational responsibility for the Phelps family’s estate vineyards and wineries in both Napa Valley and on the Sonoma Coast.
A native of Australia, Sam Burton graduated from the University of Adelaide with a degree in Agricultural Science with honors. He began his career as a viticultural consultant in Australia before coming to the U.S. to work first for Chalone and then Constellation Wines in vineyard operations and grower relations.
Most recently he oversaw all grape supply, both grower relations and the estate vineyards, for Diageo Chateau & Estates before being promoted to Director of North Coast Operations, overseeing all winery operations for the North Coast.
Sam and his wife Sally reside in St. Helena with their two children.
Ashley Hepworth joined Joseph Phelps Vineyards in 1999 as a harvest intern and stayed on to become a laboratory technician and enologist. In 2004 she became Associate Winemaker, overseeing all 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.
Furthering her winemaking experience, Ashley traveled to St. Emilion in 2005 for a harvest internship at Chateau Angelus. In 2006, to further her education, Ashley earned a Winemaking Certificate from the Viticulture and Enology Department at the University of California at Davis.
Ashley and her husband, Greg Scheinfeld, live in St. Helena with their son. When their schedules permit, they enjoy traveling and skiing.
Kelly Fields joined Joseph Phelps Vineyards 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.
Justin Ennis joined Joseph Phelps Vineyards in 2007 as Cellarmaster in Freestone, after nine years as Cellarmaster for William Selyem Winery in Healdsburg, as well as Harvest Supervisor and Cellarmaster for wineries in New Zealand and Argentina, respectively.
Justin was promoted to Assistant Winemaker in 2011 and in February 2014, promoted to Winemaker. Justin is responsible for all day-to-day winery activities at the Freestone estate, working in all aspects of Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir and Chardonnay production for Joseph Phelps Vineyards.
To further his education, Justin has taken numerous extension classes at U.C. Davis over the years, focusing his efforts on viticulture and winemaking.
Justin lives in Sebastopol with his wife Shaydra and their dog Marley.
After completing the 1987 harvest at Château Haut-Brion in Talence, France, Philippe Pessereau moved to the United States in 1988 and worked for several wineries before resuming his studies at U.C. Davis.
In 1995, Philippe graduated from Davis with a B.S. in Plant Biology and in 1998 completed an M.S. in viticulture. That same year he was hired by Joseph Phelps Vineyards as a viticulturist and in 2003 was promoted to Director of Vineyard Operations.
Philippe became a U.S. citizen in 2007 and he lives in Napa with his wife, Jenny, and their three daughters, Emma, Eliza and Morgan.