August 21, 2019 – If Meiomi Pinot Noir is on your favorites list, then you can rejoice at the news that its creator, Joseph Wagner, has launched a new line of wines, including Pinot Noir, under the name of Böen. Back in 2015 the industry was abuzz when Meiomi was purchased by behemoth Constellation Brands for beaucoup bucks, $315 million to be exact and that was for the brand only. No land. No vineyards. No winery.
The Wagner family is Napa wine royalty with a history in the Napa Valley dating back to the 1850s. Their success with Caymus Vineyards founded in 1972 in Rutherford by Joe’s grandparents is legendary. Joe is the fifth generation to make wine but he never forgets that everything starts in the vineyard and that he is first and foremost a farmer.
Wagner understands the American palate and he makes wines for consumers, not wine critics. His unique vision and style for what a California Pinot Noir could and should be made him famous and brought California Pinot Noir into the mainstream. He also got a little help from the film “Sideways”. In 2001 he launched the Belle Glos brand as a part of Wagner Family Vineyards. The wine was sourced from the Santa Maria Valley and was a hit at $30 a bottle. Then along came “Sideways” in 2004 and Pinot Noir exploded.
Belle Glos sales exploded too and the price rose to $50 a bottle. That price point is not mainstream so in 2006 Wagner debuted Meiomi which quickly became a huge hit with consumers as well as restaurants looking for a popular wine for by-the-glass programs. Slightly sweet and fruity, it was not designed to appeal to Pinot nerds but to consumers who enjoy a slightly sweet red wine. And it did, with more than seven million bottles sold in 2014.
Joe Wagner formed his own company, Copper Cane Wines & Provisions, and exited Wagner Family Vineyards. He explains the meaning of the name that encapsulates his winemaking philosophy: “When grapevine canes begin to lignify, or turn to winter hardy wood, they take on a copper hue. This color shift signals that the green character and harsh tannins have been purged from the vine (and therefore the wine). Only then are the grapes ready for harvest,” Wagner says. A video on his web site delightfully illustrates this. While most growers pick their grapes as sugar content hits a certain mark, Wagner waits for physiological maturity to ensure consistency year to year. The result is a wine full of rich, ripe fruit flavors—a style Wagner has always loved.
The new line of Böen offers five different wines: Pinot Noir and a Chardonnay made from a blend of grapes from Sonoma, Monterey, and Santa Barbara counties (SRP: $24.99 each), as well as appellation-specific editions of Pinot Noir from the Santa Lucia Highlands, Santa Maria Valley, and Russian River Valley (SRP: $34.99 each).
Enabled Wine Caps (NFC)
In addition to his grasp of how to please the consumer’s palate, Wagner is also trailblazing technology in the wine industry via Böen’s near field communication (NFC) enabled wine caps. This new tool developed by technological visionaries SharpEnd and Guala Closures Group gives consumers instant access to unparalleled information about the wine they are purchasing simply by tapping the bottle’s cap with their smartphone and taking them to the vineyards where the wines are made.
Without ever downloading an app, a portal is opened that takes you to Böen’s farmhouse where consumers can be educated about where and how their wine was made, offering food pairings, and a central place for fans to share their own experiences with Böen within the platform and via social media.
After applying so much personal attention to the farming process, Wagner believes this transparency is essential. As a result, when consumers open a bottle of Böen, they are transported to the very vineyards where the grapes were grown, where the California sunshine and long growing season bring forth robust and bold flavors.
Four years after the sale of Meiomi to Constellation Brands, Wagner is thrilled to bring the everyday luxury version of his signature style back to the world with Böen. Wagner’s Copper Cane Wines & Provisions portfolio also boasts Belle Glos, Elouan, and Napa Valley Quilt.