Friday, November 27, 2009

Fri Nov 27, 2009

Andrew Quady - Quady Winery in Madera, CA
Essensia and other sweet wines for holiday meals and desserts pairings. Andrew and Laurel Quady left crowded southern California and their jobs in pyrotechnics and merchandising to pursue their dream: a non-urban way of life making wine. Returning to school, Andrew graduated with a Masters in Food Science-Enology from UC Davis and Laurel became a licensed CPA. In 1975, at the urging of friend Darrell Corti, they made their first port from Amador County Zinfandel at the now defunct Lodi Vintners where Andrew was working as an assistant winemaker. In 1977, settled in Madera in California’s Central Valley with Andrew working at Heublein, they built a small winery behind their country home and made port on evenings and weekends. In 1980 they decided to add

a fortified white dessert wine to their line. The wine, from the obscure Orange Muscat grape variety was named Essensia and became a major success. In 1983, opportunity knocked when they were offered a crop of Black Muscat grapes which became the first Elysium. By 1984 the expanding business needed space and Andrew and Laurel needed help. Fresno State graduate and former Peace Corp member Michael Blaylock, now winemaker, and Cheryl Russell, now general manager, joined and a new winery was completed. With their enthusiasm and dedication the winery continued to grow, developing more unique wines: Starboard (our euphemism for port), Electra (white and red) and VYA vermouth.


Jim Fiolek Exec Director - Santa Barbara County Vintner's Association
Santa Barbara County has a history of winemaking and winegrape growing stretching back more than 200 years to before California was a state. From the Mission Era of early California through the Ranchero and Pueblo Era, struggling through Prohibition to the beginning of the modern era of viniculuture that started in the 60's, Santa Barbara County continues to combine traditional, hand-made techniques, with the latest cutting-edge innovations in grape-growing and winemaking. Father Junipero Serra brought grapevine cuttings from Mexico in 1782 to be planted in the fertile bottoms of Sycamore Creek (in what is now known as the Milpas district of Santa Barbara). The largest mission vineyard, about 25 acres, was located in the San Jose Creek area, and an adobe winery, built nearby in 1804, is now Goleta's oldest landmark. In 1884, Justinian Caire imported grape slips from France and planted a 150-acre vineyard on Santa Cruz Island. His prize-winning wines were shipped to San Francisco for bottling. A grapevine planted in 1842 on a farm in Carpinteria grew to monstrous proportions. In fifty years, it had a trunk measuring nine feet around, an arbor covering two acres and an annual yield of ten tons of grapes! The wine industry has enjoyed a renaissance in Santa Barbara County in the last 25 years. Early studies by researchers from U.C. Davis found that Santa Barbara County was cooler than most wine regions of Northern California and that it had an excellent balance of geology, climate, soil and water, giving it great potential as a viticultural area. The first modern vineyards were planted in the Tepusquet area of the Santa Maria Valley in the early 1960s. Shortly thereafter, vineyards were planted in several parts of the Santa Ynez Valley.

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