Emmolo is the name of my mom’s side of the family, which has a long farming history in Napa Valley. My mom, Cheryl Emmolo, has no brothers and wanted to keep the name alive. She dreamed of making wine using family vineyards, and I feel really lucky that she’s now passed the reins on to me. When I showed my first vintage to my grandparents, it was very emotional for all of us.
“Wine is an experience, and I want it to be special. I want people to feel as excited as I am.”
–Jenny Wagner, winemaker
There really is no typical day. The work changes with the seasons and you have to constantly adapt. It’s your job to turn out a great wine no matter what Mother Nature hands you. Fall is the most exciting time as we harvest the grapes. Even though the days are long, the Valley is lively. The smell of pomace is in the air, and everyone is on a harvest high.
With some decisions, there’s no going back, like deciding when to pick the grapes during harvest. I remember during my first harvest, I asked my dad for advice. He said, “Well, good luck with that,” pushing me to figure it out for myself. Now I’m so grateful, because it gave me confidence to make my own mark as a winemaker.
My grandparents Frank and Annie Emmolo are a constant reminder to enjoy life’s good moments. My mom, Cheryl Emmolo, has inspired me to be a go-getter. And my dad, Chuck Wagner, who founded Caymus Vineyards with my grandparents, has taught me you never stop learning. I’ve also watched both of my brothers, Charlie and Joe, become successful winemakers. My whole family has pushed me to constantly get better at what we do.
A great Merlot can more than hold its own against Cabernet Sauvignon. This varietal can have a wonderfully earthy quality, along with lush fruit flavors and a supple texture. My goal is to create a rich, dark and balanced wine – and nothing makes me happier than when people tell me that Emmolo helped them see Merlot in a new light.
Inspired by the idea that less is more, this wine is more minerality-driven than fruit-driven. Not grassy or overly ripe, it offers up delicate fruit flavors with a crisp, bright minerality that calls to mind a first summer rain. Our grapes come from two family vineyards, and we harvest the fruit at just the right moment to achieve a balance of firm acidity and low alcohol.
Grapes for this wine were sourced from Napa Valley’s Oak Knoll district, which includes two family vineyards. The area’s cooler weather, along with crop thinning and gravelly light soil, creates ideal conditions for producing a rich, distinctive Merlot. This wine is lush and supple on the palate, with expansive, dark berry flavors, a fresh earthiness and smooth, leathery tannins.
We’d love to see you at Caymus Vineyards – the family winery where Emmolo finds its home.
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