Vagabond Winery

Napa Valley AVA

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Claus Janzen was successful with his efforts and his new winery saw the first light of day in 1993.


The story behind Vagabond Winery begins with owner Claus Janzen who had moved with his family from his native Germany to Canada as an infant. Janzen returned to Europe after college, Switzerland to be exact, where he studied to be a hotelier and where he became enthralled with the great wines of Burgundy and the Rhône Valley of France. He eventually went back to Canada, entered the business world, but never lost his love of France and its great wine heritage.

In the late 1980’s, Janzen was introduced to Napa Valley and eventually relocated to Northern California’s most famous valley. He became a fast friend of Caymus Vineyards’ owner Chuck Wagner and was invited to become part of the 1988 harvest. The friendship with Wagner and his father Charlie continued and a half decade later, Janzen credits the Wagners with affording him the opportunity to establish himself in the wine industry.

Janzen joined Caymus’ operation and set up their international marketing system, a tenure that lasted the next eleven years. During that period, Janzen told Chuck Wagner he wanted to start his own winery. Wagner was eager to help his friend, as long as it didn’t directly compete with the efforts of Caymus Vineyards.

Claus Janzen was successful with his efforts and his new winery saw the first light of day in 1993. Along the way, Janzen felt it became necessary to develop a number of brands within the winery, and the first Vagabond wines were released in 2004.

Why the name Vagabond? “One of the duties, obligations or thrills of being a winery owner is that you get to name the winery,” remarked Claus Janzen. “I was struck by the name Vagabond and that was it for me.” Janzen also added, “My family had always moved about a lot. We were travelers, or vagabonds to use another term. I loved the word vagabond, and once while in New York, my wife and I saw a painting that gave us the idea for the label. We worked with an artist and our Vagabond label is a rendition of that artist’s conception of a vagabond.”

Vagabond is now and will always be an extremely small production operation. Most years it produces around 150 cases and doesn’t intend to increase that volume in the future. “We are a niche, niche winery. This wine comes from two AVA’s Coombsville and Yountville. In differing years, we might utilize fruit from differing AVA’s,” informed Claus Janzen.

The winemaker for Vagabond is none other than the celebrated Kirk Venge, considered among Napa Valley’s top winemakers for many years.

This Gold Plus Selection is something quite special and extremely rare. Enjoy!


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