Caymus Napa Valley: A Guide to the Iconic Wine

Caymus Napa Valley is a well-known winery located in Rutherford, California. The winery was established in 1972 by the Wagner family, and it has since become renowned for producing some of the most celebrated Cabernet Sauvignons in the Napa Valley region.

Caymus Napa Valley produces a range of wines, including their signature Caymus Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon and Caymus Special Selection Cabernet Sauvignon. The winery also produces a limited bottling of Napa Valley Zinfandel, which honors the late Charlie Wagner Sr., one of the winery's co-founders. In addition to these wines, the Wagner family has continued to explore other parts of California and even the world, producing a variety of wines under different labels.

Caymus Napa Valley is known for its commitment to quality and consistency, with grapes sourced from eight of Napa's 16 sub-appellations. The winery's diversification enables it to make the best possible wine in a given year. Visitors to the winery can enjoy tastings of five wines produced by Chuck, Charlie, and Jenny Wagner, including Caymus Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon from Napa Valley and Caymus Vineyards Special Selection. The winery's beautiful gardens provide a picturesque setting for visitors to relax and enjoy the wines.

History of Caymus Vineyards

Caymus Vineyards is one of the most important and successful Napa Cabernet houses. Founded in 1972 by Charles F. "Charlie" Wagner and his wife, Lorna Belle Glos Wagner, along with their son, Chuck Wagner, the winery is located in the Rutherford area of Napa Valley.

The Wagner Family Legacy

The Wagner family has been farming the current Caymus property to wine grapes since the 1940s, and until 1972, the fruit was sold to other area wineries. The vineyard was planted to Nathan Fay's clone of Cabernet Sauvignon in the 1960s. Fay also famously provided grapes to Stag's Leap Wine Cellars.

Napa Valley's Winemaking Milestones

Napa Valley has a rich history of winemaking, dating back to the Mexican land grant given to George Yount in 1836. However, it wasn't until the mid-20th century that Napa Valley's winemaking industry gained international recognition. The Judgment of Paris in 1976, where California wines were judged superior to French wines in a blind tasting, put Napa Valley on the map as a world-class wine region.

Caymus Vineyards has played a significant role in Napa Valley's winemaking milestones. The flagship Caymus Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley Special Selection was named Wine Spectator's Wine of the Year twice, in both 1989 and 1994, with the 1984 and 1990 vintage bottlings, respectively. Chuck Wagner, who co-founded the winery with his parents, has continued to move forward, expanding the winery's portfolio to include other varietals such as Zinfandel and Chardonnay.

Today, Caymus Vineyards remains a family-owned and operated winery, with Chuck Wagner's children continuing the family legacy. The winery's commitment to producing exceptional wines that reflect the unique terroir of Napa Valley has earned it a reputation as one of the premier wineries in the world.

Caymus Vineyards Today

Caymus Vineyards is a family-owned winery that has been producing world-class wines since 1972. Today, the winery is run by the second generation of the Wagner family, with Chuck Wagner's children taking on important roles in the business. The winery is located in the heart of the Napa Valley, with vineyards in Rutherford, Coombsville, and Calistoga.

Land and Location

Caymus Vineyards owns and operates over 350 acres of vineyards in Napa Valley. The vineyards are located in some of the most sought-after locations in the valley, including Rutherford, Coombsville, and Calistoga. The winery's location in Rutherford is particularly noteworthy, as it is considered one of the premier wine-growing regions in the world. The unique climate and soil conditions in Rutherford produce some of the most highly-regarded Cabernet Sauvignon grapes in the world.

Winery Philosophy and Practices

Caymus Vineyards is committed to producing wines of exceptional quality that reflect the unique terroir of Napa Valley. The winery's philosophy is centered around sustainable farming practices, which includes the use of cover crops, composting, and integrated pest management. The winery also uses a combination of traditional and modern winemaking techniques to produce wines that are both complex and approachable.

One of the most important aspects of Caymus Vineyards' winemaking philosophy is the emphasis on family. The winery remains 100% family-owned and operated, with Chuck Wagner and his children overseeing every aspect of the business. This commitment to family and tradition is reflected in the quality of the wines produced by Caymus Vineyards, which are consistently ranked among the best in the world.

In conclusion, Caymus Vineyards is a family-owned winery that is committed to producing exceptional wines using sustainable farming practices and traditional winemaking techniques. The winery's location in the heart of Napa Valley, combined with its focus on family and tradition, has made it one of the most highly-regarded wineries in the world.

Caymus Wine Portfolio

Caymus Vineyards is a Napa Valley-based winery that produces a variety of wines, including Cabernet Sauvignon and Zinfandel. The winery is known for its high-quality wines, which are made from grapes grown in the Napa Valley region.

Special Selection Cabernet Sauvignon

One of the most popular wines produced by Caymus Vineyards is the Special Selection Cabernet Sauvignon. This wine is made from grapes grown in the Rutherford AVA, which is known for producing some of the best Cabernet Sauvignon grapes in the region. The wine is aged in new French oak barrels for 18 months, which gives it a rich, complex flavor profile.

The Special Selection Cabernet Sauvignon is a full-bodied wine with a deep ruby color. It has aromas of dark fruit, vanilla, and spice, and flavors of blackberry, cassis, and chocolate. The tannins are firm but well-integrated, giving the wine a smooth, velvety texture. This wine is perfect for pairing with red meat dishes or strong cheeses.

Napa Valley Zinfandel

Caymus Vineyards also produces a Napa Valley Zinfandel, which is made from grapes grown in the St. Helena AVA. This wine is known for its bright fruit flavors and spicy notes, which are characteristic of Zinfandel grapes.

The Napa Valley Zinfandel has a deep, garnet color and aromas of black cherry, raspberry, and spice. On the palate, it has flavors of blackberry, plum, and pepper, with a hint of vanilla from the oak aging. The tannins are soft and supple, giving the wine a smooth, easy-drinking texture. This wine pairs well with grilled meats, pasta dishes, and spicy foods.

Overall, Caymus Vineyards produces a range of high-quality wines that showcase the best of the Napa Valley region. From their flagship Cabernet Sauvignon to their delicious Zinfandel, there is something for every wine lover in their portfolio.

Viticulture and Winemaking

Grape Growing

Caymus Napa Valley's vineyards are located in the Rutherford AVA, where the terroir is characterized by alluvial soils and a warm climate. The vineyards are planted with Cabernet Sauvignon, which is the main grape variety used in the production of their wines. The vineyard team pays close attention to the grape growing process, ensuring that the grapes are harvested at the optimal ripeness level. The grapes are hand-picked and sorted to ensure only the best grapes are used in the winemaking process.

Winemaking Techniques

Caymus Napa Valley's winemaking process is a combination of traditional and modern techniques. The grapes are fermented in stainless steel tanks and then aged in French oak barrels for up to 18 months. The use of French oak barrels adds complexity and structure to the wine, while also imparting flavors of vanilla and spice. The winemaking team also focuses on creating a balanced wine, with good acidity and tannic structure.

During the aging process, the wine is periodically tasted to ensure that it is developing properly. The winemaking team also blends different lots of wine to create a final product that is consistent in flavor and quality. Once the wine is ready, it is bottled and aged for an additional period of time before it is released to the market.

Overall, Caymus Napa Valley's viticulture and winemaking techniques are focused on creating a high-quality wine that showcases the unique characteristics of the Rutherford AVA. The use of traditional and modern techniques, along with careful attention to detail, results in a wine that is complex, balanced, and delicious.

Tasting Notes and Wine Characteristics

Caymus Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon is a rich and complex wine that is highly sought after by wine enthusiasts. This wine has an intense aroma that is both fruity and spicy, with notes of blackberries, cassis, and licorice. The aroma is also complemented by hints of vanilla, cocoa, and coffee, giving it a complex and layered scent.

Aromas and Flavors

On the palate, the Caymus Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon is full-bodied and rich with flavors of ripe blackberry, mulberry, and black cherry. The wine also has a distinct chocolatey/cocoa flavor that is complemented by hints of licorice and spice. The wine's tannins are firm, giving it a strong grip and structure that is balanced by a velvety texture.

Texture and Finish

The texture of the Caymus Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon is smooth and velvety, with a viscosity that coats the mouth. The wine has a long and lingering finish that is both fruity and spicy, with notes of cocoa and coffee that linger on the palate.

Overall, the Caymus Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon is a complex and well-balanced wine that is perfect for special occasions or for pairing with rich, flavorful dishes. Its intense aroma and rich flavors make it a favorite among wine enthusiasts, and its smooth texture and long finish make it a pleasure to drink.

Caymus Wine Pairings and Serving

Food Pairings

Caymus Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon is a versatile wine that pairs well with a variety of foods. Its full-bodied, rich flavor profile makes it an excellent choice for hearty meat dishes such as beef, lamb, and venison. The wine's tannic structure also makes it a good match for bold, aged cheeses like cheddar or gouda.

For a more adventurous pairing, try Caymus Cabernet Sauvignon with dark chocolate or espresso-based desserts. The wine's dark fruit flavors and velvety texture complement the bitterness of the chocolate and the richness of the espresso.

Serving Suggestions

When serving Caymus Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon, it's important to ensure that the wine is at the proper temperature. The ideal serving temperature for this wine is between 60-65°F (15-18°C).

To achieve this temperature, it's recommended to chill the wine in a refrigerator for about 30 minutes before serving. If you're in a hurry, you can also place the bottle in an ice bucket for about 15 minutes.

When it comes to glassware, a large, tulip-shaped glass is ideal for serving Caymus Cabernet Sauvignon. This shape allows the wine to breathe and helps to concentrate its aromas.

If you're hosting a dinner party or special event, consider having a decanter on hand. Decanting the wine for about an hour before serving can help to soften its tannins and bring out its complex flavors.

Overall, Caymus Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon is a wine that is sure to impress your guests. With its bold flavor profile and versatility, it's a great choice for any occasion.

Awards and Recognition

Critical Acclaim

Caymus Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon has received critical acclaim from wine critics and enthusiasts alike. Wine Spectator gave the 1984 Caymus Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley Special Selection the prestigious Wine of the Year title in 1989, and the same award was given to its 1990 Special Selection in 1994, making it the only wine to win this award more than once. The Wagner family's dedication to their craft has garnered them numerous accolades, including a consistent 90+ point rating from Wine Spectator for their Cabernet Sauvignon vintages.

Wine Enthusiast also gave high ratings to Caymus Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon, with the 2018 vintage receiving a score of 94 points. Wine-Searcher's average score for the wine is 90 points, indicating widespread critical acclaim.

Wine of the Year Titles

Caymus Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon has won several Wine of the Year titles, cementing its status as one of the best wines in Napa Valley. In addition to the Wine Spectator titles mentioned above, Wine & Spirits Magazine named the 2013 Caymus Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon its Wine of the Year in 2016.

The wine's consistent high ratings and critical acclaim have made it a favorite among wine enthusiasts and collectors. Its balance of fruit, oak, and tannins, along with its age-worthiness, make it a versatile and delicious wine that can be enjoyed now or cellared for years to come.

Buying Caymus Wines

Purchasing Options

Caymus wines can be purchased directly from their website or from various online wine retailers. The winery offers a wide range of wines, including their signature Cabernet Sauvignon, which is highly sought after by wine enthusiasts. Buyers can choose from different vintages and bottle sizes based on their preference.

For those who prefer to buy from a physical store, Caymus wines are available at select wine shops and restaurants across the United States. It is recommended to check with the store or restaurant beforehand to ensure availability.

Investment and Collectability

Caymus wines are known for their quality and consistency, which has made them a popular choice among wine collectors. The winery has a reputation for producing wines that are not only delicious but also have the potential to age well. As a result, Caymus wines are often considered a good investment for those looking to add to their wine collection.

However, it is important to keep in mind that the collectability of Caymus wines varies depending on the vintage and availability. Some vintages may be more sought after than others, which can affect the price and availability of the wine. It is recommended to do research and consult with a wine expert before making a significant investment in Caymus wines.

Overall, Caymus wines offer a high-quality and enjoyable wine experience for both casual drinkers and wine enthusiasts. With various purchasing options and the potential for investment and collectability, Caymus wines are a great addition to any wine collection.

Media Mentions

Caymus Napa Valley has been featured in various media outlets, including Wine Spectator, Forbes, and Food & Wine. Wine Spectator has named the flagship Caymus Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley Special Selection as Wine of the Year twice, in both 1989 and 1994 [1]. Forbes has also recognized Caymus as one of the top wine brands in the world [2].

Social Media Presence

Caymus Napa Valley has a strong presence on social media platforms such as Instagram, with over 100k followers [3]. The winery regularly posts updates about their wines, vineyards, and events, and engages with their followers by responding to comments and messages. They also collaborate with influencers and other brands to reach a wider audience.

Overall, Caymus Napa Valley's popularity and recognition in both traditional and digital media reflect their status as one of the leading wine producers in Napa Valley.


  1. Wine Spectator. (2023, November 15). The Story of Caymus: Past, Present and Future. Retrieved from
  2. Alindahao, K. (2019, October 5). The Top 10 Most Popular Wine Brands In The World. Forbes. Retrieved from
  3. Caymus Vineyards. (n.d.). Instagram. Retrieved from

Comparisons and Competitors

Caymus vs. Other Napa Wineries

Caymus Napa Valley is a well-known winery that has been producing high-quality wines for many years. The winery's Cabernet Sauvignon is particularly popular and has been compared to other top Napa Valley wines such as Opus One and Screaming Eagle. While these wines are all highly regarded, Caymus has a unique style that sets it apart from its competitors.

Caymus is known for producing wines that are rich, full-bodied, and fruit-forward. The winery uses a combination of French and American oak barrels to age its wines, which gives them a distinctive flavor profile. In comparison, Opus One is known for producing wines that are more structured and complex, while Screaming Eagle is known for its elegance and finesse.

Other Napa Valley wineries that are worth mentioning include Spring Mountain Vineyard, which is known for its Bordeaux-style wines, and Stag's Leap Wine Cellars, which produces highly-regarded Cabernet Sauvignon. While these wineries all produce excellent wines, each has its own unique style and flavor profile.

Global Comparisons

When comparing Caymus to wines from other regions, it is important to note that Napa Valley wines are often compared to those from Burgundy and Bordeaux. Burgundy wines are known for their complexity and elegance, while Bordeaux wines are known for their structure and age-worthiness.

While Caymus has a different style than these wines, it can still hold its own in comparison. Caymus wines are known for their richness and fruit-forwardness, which is different from the more subtle flavors found in Burgundy and Bordeaux wines. However, this does not mean that Caymus wines are any less complex or nuanced.

Overall, Caymus Napa Valley wines are a unique and high-quality option for those looking for a rich and fruit-forward wine. While they may not be for everyone, they are certainly worth trying for those who appreciate a bold and flavorful wine.

The Future of Caymus Vineyards

Caymus Vineyards is a family-owned winery in Napa Valley that has been producing high-quality wines for over 40 years. As the winery looks towards the future, they are committed to innovation, sustainability, and maintaining their legacy of producing complex and flavorful wines.

Innovation and Expansion

Caymus Vineyards has always been at the forefront of innovation in winemaking. They were one of the first wineries to use French oak barrels, and they continue to experiment with new techniques and technologies to improve the quality of their wines.

In recent years, Caymus Vineyards has expanded their operations to other regions, including Oregon and Washington. This expansion has allowed them to produce a wider variety of wines and to experiment with different grape varietals.

Sustainability and Legacy

As a family-owned winery, Caymus Vineyards is committed to sustainability and preserving the land for future generations. They use sustainable farming practices, including cover cropping and composting, to maintain the health of the soil and reduce their environmental impact.

Caymus Vineyards is also committed to maintaining their legacy of producing complex and flavorful wines. They continue to invest in their knowledge and expertise in winemaking to ensure that they are producing the best possible wines.

In conclusion, Caymus Vineyards is poised for a bright future, thanks to their commitment to innovation, sustainability, and maintaining their legacy of producing complex and flavorful wines.