A legendary Napa Valley vintner has been honored with one of the wine world’s most prestigious awards — a nice way to begin the holiday season.
The American Wine Society selected Caymus Vineyards co-founder Chuck Wagner for the 2015 AWS Award of Merit. Wagner received the award at the AWS Annual Conference’s Grand Banquet on November 7.
“Being recognized by the American Wine Society is a great honor,” said Wagner, who started Caymus in 1972 with his parents, Charlie and Lorna Belle Glos Wagner. “After more than 40 years in the wine business, I’m still learning, so the mission of AWS to help people discover and enjoy the world of wine means a lot to me personally.”
Since 1971, the AWS Award of Merit has been given to a wine industry luminary. The basic criterion for the award is substantial and meritorious achievement in at least one phase of wine activity, such as viticulture, enology, education, journalism or merchandising.
For each nominee, consideration is given to his or her actual accomplishments in comparison to others in the same field, and their impact on improving the quality of wine, increasing or extending the consumption or appreciation of wine, and so on — in other words, the sum total of accomplishments over a period of time.
“Chuck Wagner started Caymus Vineyards with his parents at a time when Napa Valley was barely on the map, and he played a huge role in changing that,” said John Hames, Executive Director of the AWS. “Today, Caymus is a leading producer of Cabernet Sauvignon, but Chuck is still a farmer at heart, with a humility that belies his success. On many days, he can be found doing what he loves best — tending to the vines and working alongside his kids.”
The Wagners come from a long line of grape growers and winemakers, with a farming legacy that can be traced back nearly 160 years in the Napa Valley. It has been more than 40 years since they founded Caymus Vineyards, and today the family is proud to showcase a collection of wines that have a reputation for quality and consistency, sourced from the premiere wine growing regions of California.
Their desire to do something truly special, and make the finest wines they can, drives them to try new techniques, refine practices, and continue to improve the quality of their wines.
Charlie Wagner Sr. began as a “home winemaker” in the 1960s, using grapes planted behind their farmhouse, and today his son, Chuck Wagner, continues to make world-renowned Caymus Cabernet Sauvignon in Napa Valley.
To date, Caymus is the only winery to ever receive Wine Spectator’s Wine of the Year award twice. Each time, it was for its “Special Selection” Cabernet Sauvignon bottling.
Chuck’s oldest son, Charlie, makes Mer Soleil Chardonnay in the Santa Lucia Highlands of Monterey County, and Conundrum, which has set the benchmark for luxury California wine blends for more than 25 years. Son Joseph makes Belle Glos Pinot Noir, sourced from three prestigious coastal appellations of California. Chuck’s daughter, Jenny, recently joined the family business, producing Emmolo Napa Valley Sauvignon Blanc and Merlot.
With such a talented group of younger Wagners already producing world-class wines, the family’s wine legacy figures to be extended and enhanced for many years to come.