THE 24TH ANNUAL NANTUCKET WINE & FOOD FESTIVAL: MAY 13-17, 2020

Joseph Wagner

Winemaker

Copper Cane
Napa Valley, CA

A fifth-generation Napa Valley winemaker, Joseph Wagner has been immersed in every aspect of the wine industry his entire life. Learning the ropes from his father Chuck, who co-founded Caymus Vineyards with his parents in 1972, Joe garnered a love for cultivating the land, tending grapevines, the art of winemaking, the strengths of a good work ethic and leading by example. Planting his first Pinot Noir vineyard at age fifteen sparked a love for the then lesser-known variety. After working in the Sonoran desert of Northern Mexico farming table grapes, Joe returned to California where he joined the family business working under his father in vineyards and the winery.

 

Establishing Belle Glos with his father with the inaugural vintage of 2001 focusing on vineyard-designated Pinot Noirs, Joe took a different approach to vineyard decisions and winemaking than the traditional Burgundian philosophy. Taking the risk of separating from tradition would prove a wise choice for Joe and the brand and shape a philosophy he carries to this day of “Go With Your Palette”; a simple way of empowering people to drink what they enjoy, and not be swayed by the sommeliers and critics of the world. In 2006, Joe began crafting Meiomi, an industry-shaking Pinot Noir with bold and robust flavors uncommon in Pinot Noirs at the time. The brand gained so much recognition that it soon became the focal point of the largest non-asset wine sale in history, a deal Wagner made to fund his dreams and aspirations for his blossoming company, Copper Cane Wines & Provisions.

 

Next up for Joe was Elouan, a collection of Oregon wines made in his signature style. Since starting Copper Cane in 2014, Joe has launched numerous new wines, each with a distinct slant towards his personal style. Taking a hands-on approach to cultivation, winemaking and marketing with each of the brands, his Copper Cane portfolio includes Belle Glos, Elouan, Napa Valley Quilt, Böen, and others.

 

In addition to his many brands of wines, Joseph also owns the premium cigar line Avrae and the Napa Valley restaurant AVOW. He lives in Napa Valley and enjoys mountain biking and camping with his six children and teaching them the ropes of the business with the hopes that someday, they too will be in the wine industry