Auction PR Publicity Announcements News and Information
Auction PR Publicity Announcements News and Information

Hart Davis Hart to Auction Historic Wine Collection from The Personal Estate of Joseph Phelps

Hart Davis Hart Wine Co. is honored to announce the auction of historic wines from The Personal Estate of Joseph Phelps being offered in their December 18 & 19 Auction of Finest & Rarest Wines. A towering figure in the history of Napa Valley winemaking, Phelps passed in 2015, leaving behind a distinguished wine collection.

Joe Phelps was an active collector for decades, acquiring bottles from his Napa neighbors, friends, and from reputable merchants and auctions. Provenance, condition, and storage was of great importance to him, and his wines remained at the winery or in his custom temperature-controlled home cellar, where they have laid undisturbed. Original receipts, ledgers, and note cards detailing many of his purchases spanning fifty years were provided to HDH by the family.

This vast cellar features over 5,000 bottles of highly sought Bordeaux and Burgundy, along with Rhône and Champagne, and includes a remarkable and unprecedented selection of rare Napa bottlings. Not to be missed is a vertical of Joseph Phelps Insignia encompassing 18 vintages, six bottles of the legendary 1974 Heitz Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon, Martha’s Vineyard, a single bottle of the historic 1865 Château Lafite Rothschild, and two bottles of the highly sought 1980 Richebourg, Henri Jayer.

“We’re very excited to represent this special collection. Joe was a legend in the wine world, and he will always have a place in the history of Napa Valley wines. His very personal collection underscores his formidable level of expertise and it’s such an honor to offer these treasures to collectors around the world,” commented Michael Davis, Vice Chairman of Hart Davis Hart.

Following a successful career in construction, Joe Phelps became a vintner in 1973 when he founded his namesake winery, Joseph Phelps Vineyards, on the site of a former cattle ranch just outside of St. Helena, Napa Valley. He quickly created a legacy in the wine world with his proprietary named red Bordeaux-style blend, Insignia, in 1974. At the time, it was an unorthodox approach, but helped open doors for the region to produce bold, dramatic, and age-worthy Cabernet Sauvignon based wines. Along with introducing his now iconic Insignia, Phelps spearheaded the use of Rhône varieties and was the first to bottle a varietally labeled Syrah in California, also from the 1974 vintage. He had an interest in Burgundy as well, and helped popularize Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, while also producing unique dessert wines from Riesling, Sémillon, Gewürztraminer and Scheurebe.

“Dad took such pleasure in sharing bottles of wine from his cellar with friends and family,” noted Lynn Phelps Finch, Joe’s youngest daughter. “We are pleased to share his cellar with others and continue the legacy.”

Absentee bidding for Hart Davis Hart’s December 18 & 19 Auction of Finest & Rarest Wines will open on Thursday, November 26 at 9:00am ET. Bidders should download HDH’s industry leading mobile app or visit to register and place bids.
Highlights from The Personal Estate of Joseph Phelps:

1955 Château Cheval Blanc (3 bs) (est. $2,400-3,500)
1934 Château Haut-Brion (2 bs) (est. $1,500-2,200)
1865 Château Lafite Rothschild (1 b) (est. $11,000-17,000)
1952 Château Lafite Rothschild (12 bs) (est. $10,000-15,000)
1959 Château Latour (11 bs) (est. $30,000-45,000)
1918 Château La Mission Haut-Brion (1 b) (est. $4,000-6,000)
1952 Château Mouton Rothschild (4 bs) (est. $2,400-3,500)
1966 Chambertin, Clos de Bèze, Clair-Daü (6 bs) (est. $7,000-10,000)
1980 Richebourg, Henri Jayer (2 bs) (est. $26,000-38,000)
1980 Vosne-Romanée, Beaux Monts, Henri Jayer (1 b) (est. $8,000-12,000)
1964 Richebourg, Domaine de la Romanée-Conti (1 b) (est. $3,000-4,500)
1966 Romanée-Conti, Domaine de la Romanée-Conti (1 b) (est. $7,500-11,000)
1967 Chambertin, Armand Rousseau (1 b) (est. $2,400-3,500)
1974 Heitz Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon, Martha’s Vineyard (6 bs) (est. $7,000-10,000)
1976 Joseph Phelps Vineyards Red Wine, Insignia (12 bs) (est. $4,000-6,000)
1971 Ridge Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon, Eisele Vineyard (2 bs) (est. $4,000-6,000)
1973 Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon, SLV (10 bs) (est. $9,500-14,000)
1977 Côte Rôtie, Côte Brune, Cuvée Reservée, Marius Gentaz-Dervieux (10 bs) (est. $12,000-18,000)
1961 Salon (1 b) (est. $3,500-5,500)
1975 Bollinger, Vieilles Vignes Francaises, Blanc de Noirs (1 b) (est. $3,500-5,500)
1898 Sercial Solera Madeira, Henriques & Henriques (6 bs) (est. $3,200-4,800)

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