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Caymus Vineyards Matriarch Lorna Belle Glos Wagner Dies at 97

October 3, 2013

Lorna Belle Glos Wagner, the strong family matriarch who worked behind the scenes as she, her husband Charlie Wagner, and their son Chuck founded Caymus Vineyards and helped put Napa Cabernet on the map, died Oct. 2. She was 97.

Lorna Belle was never in the limelight. She was a quiet, enduring presence at Caymus Vineyards for decades, a Napa Valley native from a family with winemaking roots dating back 150 years. In 1972, when she helped found Caymus, Napa Valley was struggling to define itself as a wine region and gain wider recognition. When she died at her Rutherford home on Wednesday, just shy of 98, Caymus and its sister wineries—Conundrum, Belle Glos, Mer Soleil, Meiomi and Silver—were enormously successful.

“She had a good run for sure, yet to me it seems like the end of an era, as she was the last of the wagon-train crowd,” her son Chuck told Wine Spectator. He recalled that she worked at the winery, made lunch every day and performed any job that needed to be done, from harvest to the bottling line.

Lorna Belle was at the heart of the Wagner family as its Cabernet Sauvignon became a model of consistency and excellence. She is the namesake for the family’s Pinot Noir label, Belle Glos, now made by her grandson Joseph. Five of her grandchildren are winemakers.

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