Joseph Phelps Vineyards

Backus Vineyard
2019 Cabernet Sauvignon

2021 Offering
Premiere Napa Valley
Auction 25 | Lot No. 61
Vintage: 2019

Joseph Phelps Vineyards

Backus Vineyard

Cabernet Sauvignon

5 cases produced


  • Unique blend of select lots from the Backus Vineyard in eastern Oakville
  • Select vines from the rocky Plateau Block, and steeply terraced South and North blocks
  • Comprised of 94% Cabernet Sauvignon, 4% Malbec and 2% Petit Verdot
  • A wine of energy and power showcases black raspberries, red currants, lavender and blackberry


The Joseph Phelps Vineyards Premiere Napa Valley 2021 lot was created from our Backus Vineyard, located on the eastern hillsides of the Oakville appellation, one of the most coveted grape growing regions in Napa Valley. With its distinctive red pigmented ancient volcanic soils, Joseph Phelps is the only wine producer to craft wines from this special location for over forty years. A blend of 94% Cabernet Sauvignon, 4% Malbec and 2% Petit Verdot from select vines planted along the rocky Plateau block located 500 feet above the valley floor, steeply terraced South block, and the lower North blocks where the property’s iconic smokehouse rests. This one-of-a-kind blend will continue aging in a new Taransaud 5 French oak barrel for twenty-four months before bottling. The 2019 vintage Cabernet Sauvignon from Backus Vineyard is filled with energy and power to showcase notes of black raspberries, red currants, lavender, and blackberry. Bold freshness, firm tannin structure and a long finish are highlights of this classic Napa Valley vintage.

Wine Facts

  • Wine is unfiltered
  • Single vineyard wine
  • Sustainably produced
  • Wine is 100% estate grown and bottled

Ashley Hepworth

Winemaker, Joseph Phelps Vineyards

Winemaker, Ashley Hepworth

Ashley Hepworth came to Joseph Phelps Vineyards in 1999 with a palate honed by working in restaurant kitchens, including the celebrated Charlie Trotter’s in Chicago. The experience also exposed Ashley to wine – she became friendly with Charlie Trotter’s sommeliers – and ultimately led her to apply for a harvest intern position at Joseph Phelps Vineyards. She got the job, and after working the harvest of 1999 she stayed on as a cellar worker, a “from the ground up experience” she says she wouldn’t trade for anything. From there Ashley went on to positions at the winery as a lab technician and enologist, and in 2004 she was named associate winemaker, overseeing all day-to-day winemaking operations.

In 2005 Ashley had the opportunity to expand her winemaking horizons when she took a “mini” sabbatical to work a harvest in Bordeaux at Chateau Angelus in St. Emilion. She earned a Winemaking Certificate from the Viticulture and Enology Department at the University of California at Davis in 2006, and in 2008 she was promoted to winemaker at Joseph Phelps Vineyards.

“I’ve been fortunate to work with some great winemakers at Joseph Phelps, and I’ve learned a lot from each one of them,” says Ashley, who credits the winery’s founder, Joe Phelps, with establishing the overall philosophical approach which guides the winery today. “He always pushed the winemaking team to explore, to do better. There was no limit. He always said ‘don’t stop at good, make it great.’ Even though he’s gone, we have a team that understands that really well.”

Ashley’s approach to winemaking at Joseph Phelps is deceptively simple: let the vineyards and the vintages speak for themselves. “Our estate vineyards give me such quality and purity of fruit,” she says. “There’s a consistency to our wines, but it’s not because of a recipe, it’s because the vineyards are so solid.” Still, Ashley is very much in favor of vintage expression. “We don’t want every vintage to taste the same.”

Country born: United States

Education: B.S. in Biology and a minor in Chemistry at Fort Lewis College, a Winemaking Certificate from the Viticulture and Enology Department at the University of California at Davis and worked the 2005 harvest at Chateau Angelus, St. Emilion.

Years in the wine industry: 20-30 years

Winemaking Philosophy:
Minimalism - allow what the vineyard offers to reflect in the wine.


4326 Redwood Highway
San Rafael  CA  94903


Premiere Napa Valley Wine Collection

Winery Vintage Variety Appellation Fanciful Auction
Hyde Estate Napa Green Winery 2020 Pinot Noir Los Carneros Larry Hyde 25
Joseph Phelps Vineyards 2019 Cabernet Sauvignon Oakville Backus Vineyard 25
Dyer Vineyard & Meteor Vineyard 2018 Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley The Wolf Origin Reprise 24
Dyer Vineyard, Meteor Vineyard 2016 Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley The Wolf Origin 22
Jones Family Vineyards 2009 Cabernet Sauvignon Calistoga 15
Tamber Bey Vineyards 2009 Petit Verdot Yountville 15
Chateau Boswell Winery 2006 Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley 13
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