Joseph J. Wagner is a fifth-generation winemaker from a family with farming and winemaking roots in the Napa Valley since the 1880's. In his youth, he worked many spring and summer days in the vineyard and cellar of Caymus, learning the basics from pulling leaves, to dragging hoses. Then he began to focus his efforts on what was to become his passion and career in the wine business. He is the owner of Belle Glos and Meiomi wines and has been overseeing vineyard operations and winemaking since 2002. Joseph has a perpetual goal of crafting Pinot Noirs that exude their origins and represent the best of their class in any vintage. Along with his passion for Pinot Noir, he continues his role at Caymus in viticulture and winemaking alongside his father, Chuck. When not at work, he spends time with his wife and 5 children constantly grooming the next generation in farming philosophy and practices, winemaking and the enjoyment of nature's bounty and the outdoors. View all Meiomi Wines
About Sonoma CountyView a map of Sonoma County wineries
Twice as large as Napa in size, Sonoma County only makes about a half the amount of wine as her northeasterly neighbor. But Sonoma, with her size, is able to vouch for more diversity within her borders, including sub-AVAs that are climatically varied. The atmosphere of Sonoma is decidedly laid back and down home country style. But in wines, they are keeping up with the Joneses, or Napa-ites if you will. Grape varieties are more varied here, from Pinot Noir and Zinfandel to Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay.
Notable FactsThe largest sub-AVAs of Sonoma include Dry Creek Valley, Russian River Valley, Alexander Valley and Sonoma Valley. Each sub-AVA, with its own micro-climate, is unique in its grape varieties and styles of wine. Dry Creek makes a mean Zinfandel while Russian River produces stand up Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. The Alexander Valley makes some of the better Cabernet Sauvignons in the county and Sonoma Valley creates excellent wines from all the above varieties. Other grapes found throughout Sonoma include Sauvignon Blanc, Merlot and Syrah.
The most famous of the California wine regions is Napa Valley, and these wines are certainly outstanding – but it's not as broad and diverse as its larger neighbor, Sonoma County. Down south, Santa Barbara's Santa Maria Valley is well-known for its Rhône blends, as well as cool-climate varieties like Pinot and Chardonnay. The Central Coast, the largest California AVA, has many different microclimates that lead to a wide range of wines with many sub-AVAs.