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Origins exploration | potential | intuition

The genesis of what would become Ad Vivum dates back to 2005 when Chris Phelps began working with Cabernet Sauvignon grapes from Sleeping Lady Vineyard on a purely experimental level. By 2007, he was convinced that the site could produce world-class wine. Lary Bettinelli, the owner of Sleeping Lady, agreed to set aside a small block of vines for Phelps.

Chris Phelps was born into a wine-loving family. Phelps completed a degree in enology at U.C. Davis, then studied viticulture and enology at the University of Bordeaux. He was selected by his future mentors, Christian Moueix and enologist Jean-Claude Berrouet, of Château Pétrus and Ets. Jean-Pierre Moueix, to direct winemaking at Château des Laurets in Puisseguin-St. Émilion for the 1982 harvest.

This led to extensive training at Château Pétrus and other Moueix properties on the Right Bank and then to 12 years as the founding winemaker at Dominus Estate, the Napa Valley property owned by Moueix.

After Dominus, Phelps made the wines at Caymus Vineyards before starting his consulting business. His winemaking experiences in Napa and Bordeaux led him to create what he now calls “New World wines with an Old-World sensibility.”

Since 2007, Phelps has produced Ad Vivum, his single vineyard Napa Valley Cabernet sourced from the Sleeping Lady Vineyard in Yountville, California.