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An Afternoon at Caymus

Katie Katzman

The screen door slammed behind us, the same sound the door of your childhood home reverberates in your memory.

It was a scorching hot day in late May as we arrived at Caymus Vineyards, the perfect weather for good grapes is what all the winemakers reminded us that day.

Entering Caymus we were reminded yet again.

These people know grapes and the sound of that door is in many ways, to the childhood home of the Wagner family. The family has been in the wine business for 40 years. They say the wine is good because they know the land. The way the sun tilts down on the fields, how much water will touch the vines, the perfect amount of afternoon sun.

The smell of wine and barrels scents the air around the tasting room. We feel at home. New plans are in place to make the front of the building reminiscent of one of Monet’s gardens. The family hopes people will sit outside, take pleasure in the scenery and enjoy a glass of wine in the sun.

Through that wooden door, the tasting bar is a sight in and of itself to behold, lush wood with carvings, gleaming bottles along the bar.

The patriarch of the family Charlie Wagner settled on the land that would become Caymus Vineyards in 1941 and to this day, the Wagners run the vineyard.

Chuck Wagner continues to direct the Cabernet program at Caymus Vineyards. Three of Chuck’s four children are already in the family business. Charlie Wagner II is making Chardonnay at Mer Soleil in the Santa Lucia Highlands of Monterey County; Joseph Wagner is making fine Pinot Noir under the Belle Glos label in the coastal areas of California; Jenny is learning the ropes at Caymus and longtime winemaker for Conundrum, Jon Bolta, continues his craft.

It is just recently Caymus has opened itself up to walk-in visitors. Until recently, the winery was by-appointment only. Now, with a focus on showing off what they do, the winery is open for public tastings. They are welcoming in the public and welcoming visitors into their family by pouring not only Caymus but all the wines produced by the family.

It’s this family affair that makes us love the wine so much. Passed down from father to son, love and dedication perfuming each glass poured.


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