Monster wine trade at Caymus Vineyards


Written by:

Joe Becerra

Last updated:

Caymus Cabernet 1973
Caymus Cabernet 1973
Mike’s trade bottles of Caymus Cabernet

Wine Trade at Caymus Vineyards nets Special Selection Cab

It never ceases to amaze me when my good friend and wine collector Mike Beltran works out a trade deal for his wine. I have been with Mike on a few of his amazing wine trades (Mondavi was remarkable), but I put this trade for Caymus wine in the monster category. Mike has been collecting wines since his mid-twenties. He was a career school teacher but on weekends and summers worked in wine retail. In those early years, he developed his wine palate as well as an instinct for collecting wine for pleasure and investment purposes.

Here is how the trade went down at Caymus Vineyards. In his vast wine collection, Mike found five bottles of Caymus Vinyeards Cabernet Sauvignon,  one bottle of  the 1973 vintage, three bottles of the 1974 vintage and one bottle of the 1975 vintage.  The first vintage of Caymus wine was in 1972.  Mike contacted the winery and exchanged emails with owner and winemaker Charlie Wagner’s assistant. Through his assistant, Charlie said he was interested in making a trade if the wines were authentic and in good condition. Mike arranged a meeting to bring the wine to the winery and meet with Charlie Wagner.  The offer from Charlie in his email was almost too good to be true. “For each of your wines, you will receive six bottles of the current release Cabernet Sauvignon Special Reserve.”  That sounded like an amazing deal, considering the Caymus Vineyards Special Selection Cab sells for $160 a bottle at the Caymus online store.  So off we went to Caymus Vineyards. Caymus is located at 8700 Conn Creek Road in the Rutherford AVA of the Napa Valley. It is off the beaten path and surrounded by beautiful vineyard views in all directions. The disappointing part of the trade was that we did not get to meet Charlie Wagner. Charlie is one of the most well-known winemakers in the Napa Valley, and he and his parents are considered pioneers in the Napa Valley wine scene. The “Crush” is in full bore, so Charlie was called away just as we arrived. His assistant said he would look at the wines shortly and, in the meantime, we could taste the lineup of wines available in the Caymus tasting room.  As we finished our tasting, Mike got word that his wines were perfect. Soon one of the Caymus staff members came towards us, rolling a hand truck loaded with two and a half cases of Caymus Special Selection Cabernet Sauvignon. Mike says he really made a great deal, and it surely seems like it. Charlie Wagner obviously was eager and happy to have these early-vintage wines and make this monster wine trade.  By the way, we did try the 2012 Special Selection Cabernet Sauvignon and indeed it is something special. The 2012 vintage in the Napa Valley is one of the best and this wine shows it. As I tasted this wine I wondered what it would be like ten years from now. I hope I find out!

caymus cabernet 1972
Mike on the left next to his wine cache

About visiting Caymus Vineyards

Caymus wine tasting
Caymus tasting area

Caymus is just about in the middle of the Napa Valley in the Rutherford AVA  and in between Highway 29 and the Silverado Trail. Visitors can taste four wines for $30, or can book an appointment for a sit-down tasting paired with cheese for $40. Check the Caymus Website for visiting options. For other nearby wineries, check our Silverado Trail Wine Route or our Highway 29 Boutique Wine Route.   If you’re looking for lodging or dining or other wine routes take a look at our Napa Valley Home Page.

  • Joe Becerra

    Joe Becerra has been traveling to wine country and enjoying wine since 1965. He is a retired educator, and now have the time the opportunity to share his wine travel experiences through this Website.