THE CAYMUS VINEYARDS: Two-Time Award-Winning Wine
“Owner and cellar master Chuck Wagner, called ‘Mr. Cabernet’, has been producing a very large Zinfandel in small quantities for decades.”
Caymus Vineyards is located on 73 acres in Rutherford and has been owned and farmed by the Wagner family since the 1940’s. The families of Charlie Wagner and Lorna Belle Glos Wagner moved from Alsace, France, and Rheinpfalz, Germany, respectively, and have roots in Napa Valley dating back to the mid-1850s.
Caymus Vineyards was founded by Chuck Wagner and his parents Charlie and Lorna Wagner when he was 19 years old, with the first vintage of Cabernet Sauvignon produced in 1972. In 1975, the Wagners released their first Special Selection Cabernet Sauvignon, which was prepared from exceptional Cabernet lots from that year’s harvest. It is the only wine to be awarded “Wine of the Year” by Wine Spectator magazine twice, in 1984 and 1990. In addition, both Charlie and Chuck Wagner were awarded the Wine Spectator’s “Distinguished Service Award” for their services to the American wine industry.
The Wagner family’s home base is still Caymus Vineyards. Chuck Wagner’s children, Charlie II, Joseph, and Jenny preserve a proud family legacy of farming and winemaking throughout the state of California. In addition to Caymus Cabernet Sauvignon, the Wagner Family of Wine tasting room located on Caymus Vineyards property and serves and sells all Wagner Family of Wine brands.
The winery continues to operate as a working family farm and company and you can find any of the Wagners on the farm, driving a tractor, shoveling a tank, pruning grapes, or working in the barrel cellar. The Wagners invite visitors to come and taste wines prepared with quality, care, and pride.
The great richness and flavor of their Cabernet Sauvignon from 1973 drew the attention of wine writers. Later, in 1975, they released their ‘Special Selection’ Cabernet Sauvignon, which is the only wine to have earned Wine Spectator’s “Wine of the Year” award twice.
Almost five decades later, Chuck Wagner’s children, Charlie and Jenny Wagner, now help run the family wine business. Joe Wagner, his youngest son, founded the Belle Glos winery in California, named after his grandmother and lifelong winemaker, Lorna Belle Glos Wagner. The Fine Pinot Noir wines are produced under the Belle Glos label.
Caymus maintains numerous other vineyards in Napa Valley. However, this represents only a small portion of the 2,400 acres of vineyard land that they control in California. They have mostly established and planted vineyards, which are entirely maintained by their employees. Examples are sizeable vineyards in Monterey, Santa Barbara, and nearby Solano and Sonoma counties.
They also run two other wineries, one in Monterey County which is a production facility with no hospitality, and the other in Solano County (Cordelia Winery), also with no hospitality.
Caymus developed a second label named Liberty School for a couple of years before selling it to the Hope family in 1996. This family has since included this label into the Hope Family Wines portfolio, along with numerous other brands, and it can now be tested at their winery, Treana in Paso Robles.
Did you know: These awards are due to Chuck Wagner, his ingenious and extraordinary knowledge of modern winery technology, as well as the experience of decades of viticulture. It is not only the red wines with which Caymus is awarded, but also the white wines follow closely, each in his own way. The crowning glory of his white wines is the production of the Burgundy-style Chardonnay – “Mer et Soleil” (sea and sun) in the new winery in Monterey County, about 200 km south of San Francisco.