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Josh Phelps Debuts ‘Collusion’ Red Wine from Washington State

MA Silva NeoTech

The Red Blend Marks the Second Wine in the Grounded Wine Co. Collection

RICHLAND, WASHINGTON, MARCH 15, 2018 – Founder and Winemaker Josh Phelps announces the release of his second wine from his recently-launched American wine label, Grounded Wine Company, Collusion, a red blend from the Columbia Valley in Washington. Showcasing one of his favorite AVAs outside of his home state of California, Collusion harnesses the untapped potential for phenomenal Bordeaux-varietal red blends in this lesser-known growing region.

Paying further homage to the history of winemaking in the American West, Phelps worked with Felicia Chiarello and Mero Pavlovich of Gospel to develop a visual identity for the bottle that tips its hat to those who kept the American winemaking tradition alive by any means. With playful yet communicative visual effects, Collusion’s didactic label pays tribute to heritage, while challenging it with a reminder of what can be learned from the past. 

A wine with power, elegance and balance, Phelps debuts the 2016 vintage with the hopes of helping introduce a strong American wine region to the next generation of wine drinkers.


43% Merlot, 34% Cabernet Sauvignon, 19% Malbec, 4% Syrah – In line with the restrained, elegant California Cabernet ‘Steady State’ that Phelps released this winter, Collusion is a more easygoing red blend than others of its kind. The earthy scents, clean finish, and fresh yet deep fruit flavors make this wine simple to sip on with a bowl of pretzels or pair with a potluck serving of Texas Chili.


Venturing outside of Napa terroir and California altogether for this next wine, Phelps was drawn to the cooler climates of Washington State vineyards. “I love the balance we are able to achieve with the grapes grown in the Columbia Valley,” explains Phelps, “the soil there produces fruit that deliver both power and elegance in a wine.” The affordable price point (SRP: $23) of Collusion is also thanks to this under-the-radar wine region, which Phelps describes as “the next frontier for American-made Bordeaux varietal blends.”


Collaborating with the Mexico City-based design team from Gospel, Phelps developed a visual identity for Collusion that expresses and embraces the deep, sometimes dark history of American winemaking with a design directive that embraces the heritage of the wine industry during Prohibition.

The story begins when America banned the production, sale, or transportation of intoxicating liquors in 1919 and the daring ways a few industrious wineries found to keep the wine industry alive. Stylistically, the label is made up of a balance between a dark speakeasy aesthetic, emphasized in color and tactility, and early 20th century typography typically used on printed posters and industrial wooden crates from the time.


Grounded in heritage, grounded in soil, grounded in simplicity – Grounded Wine Co.‘s mission is to create wines that evoke a sense of place. Intriguing, clean, balanced, and accessible, Grounded Wine Co. produces terroir-driven wines with an emphasis on quality and experience.

Grounded Wine Co. is the personal brand of Napa native Josh Phelps, built to reflect his experience growing up in wine country, and his relationships in the wine community. A grassroots, all-American, wine label, the wines feature grapes from trusted, sustainable vineyards in the U.S. and showcase what it means to be a winemaker today.


Instagram @GroundedWineCo | Twitter @GroundedWineCo


Josh’s roots run deep in Napa, raised in a winemaking family, he was exposed to the industry from a young age, starting his very first endeavor in the wine world, “Napa Valet”, at age 15. He continued to build his knowledge of the business through college, selling wine, working the harvest and creating wine for friends with his father, Chris Phelps (of Dominus Estate). As a Napa local, his philosophies on winemaking and business are advised the luminaries of the wine world he calls his mentors and friends like Joel Gott, Kimberly Jones and Leslie Rudd, and of course, his own father.

With Grounded Wine Co., Josh hopes to build on this legacy and make his own splash in the wine world while exposing wine drinkers of his own generation to his hometown in wine country. Working with trusted farmers and childhood friends, his company reflects his deep understanding of wine, one that can only be developed growing up around the vines. He has been named to Forbes’s 30 under 30 list, along with Zagat’s 30 under 30 and Wine Enthusiast’s 40 under 40 – though one of his proudest accomplishments is still the Eagle Scout badge he earned at the age of 18.

Instagram @joshphelps |Twitter @joshcphelps

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