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Wine Spectator: Caymus Owner Chuck Wagner Sues California Over Tasting Room Closures

May 29, 2020

Caymus Vineyards, one of Napa Valley’s best-known wineries, has filed a lawsuit against California’s governor and public health officer, alleging that the state’s reopening plan is treating winery tasting rooms inequitably. Chuck Wagner, the winery’s proprietor, is calling on a federal court to strike down the measure that has allowed some tasting rooms to open while others remain closed.

“The orders permit the reopening of winery tasting rooms if, and only if, they also provide ‘sit-down, dine-in meals,’” the complaint states. “The orders provide no explanation for this requirement. Any winery that does not—or, under local ordinances, cannot—provide such meals may not reopen. The governor and the state public health officer have an obligation to promulgate orders that treat like businesses in a like manner.”

Ironically, both parties in the suit are vintners. Calif. Gov. Gavin Newsom is a co-owner of the PlumpJack Group, which includes four Napa wineries. Wagner is the longtime proprietor of Caymus, which he co-founded with his father, Charlie, when he was just out of high school. Today, he and two of his children own multiple California wineries. Wine Spectator has the full story.—Mitch Frank

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