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Quady Winery: a sweet success in the winemaking business

It all started in 1969, when Laurel met future husband Andrew Quady.

At the time, Andrew was working on underwater fireworks for the U.S. military and the couple desperately wanted a change.

“We decided to go into the winery business because we like wine and also because, growing up in Southern California in the 1970s, we decided wanted to live somewhere where we could have a more rural lifestyle,” Laurel said. “My husband went back to Davis where he already had a degree in chemistry, and got his Master’s degree. I went back to school as well and became a CPA so that we could live in a more rural area.”

The couple moved to Madera in 1976 and purchased property in 1977, where they put up a small square stucco building and started making wine on weekends and evenings, moonlighting because Andrew was then working for United Vintners and Laurel worked as a CPA.

“We got started as a small business,” Laurel said. “The last 10 or 20 years is when we’ve really grown a lot. Today, our wine is sold in nearly every state in the U.S. and about 20 other countries. Our biggest foreign market is England, and we also sell in the Netherlands Taiwan, Singapore, Japan.”

Laurel attributes much of their achievements to having wonderful employees.

“We have been really lucky we have a great bunch of people,” she said. “A lot of our success has been due to having great staff and also due to my husband’s imagination.”

The winery currently employs just under 30 workers. The couple’s daughter is also the communications manager.

The winery offers various styles of muscats, and, in 1999, started making a small batch of Vermouth. Vermouth is a wine that’s been infused with botanicals. There are two styles available: a dry one and a sweet one.

“Here in the states, it’s usually used as an ingredient in cocktails,” Laurel said. “The sweet often goes into manhattans, and the dry goes into Martinis. In Europe, they drink them by themselves over ice.”

Quady Winery also makes Essensia and Elysium. These are more full bodied, higher alcohol wines. They are more traditional dessert wines.

“We make a light style of Moscato: both red and white,” Laurel said. “Moscato has gotten very popular all across the U.S. so these now make up about 80 percent of our production.There are two major Muscat grapes that we use: one is called Orange Muscat (there are no oranges in it; it’s just the variety name). The other is a Black Muscat.

Quady is the only winery who specializes in sweet wines and Vermouth, in general. “In summer, people love the slushies we offer at the winery,” Laurel said.

Customers can also make these slushies at home. The alcohol content of the wines used in the slushies is so low that they naturally freeze down. People can accomplish this by pouring the wine into a metal bowl or Tupperware container (not the bottle because it may break in the freezer), leave the wine in the freezer overnight and then the next day it will be ready for use.

“It’s maybe not as smooth as it comes out of the slushie machine, but it’s wonderful,” Laurel said. “You can also put it in an ice cube tray and make ice cubes out of it.”

The winery also offers a chocolate liqueur sauce that another company makes for them.

“To me, that’s what’s really fun about our wines. Obviously you can drink them, but you can also play with them,” Laurel said. “You can put them into cakes, sauces, makes cocktails, whatever you want to do and to me that’s really fun.”

The winery sells a cocktail book that features all wines and explains what they can be used for. There are also recipes available on the company website:

Customers can purchase by visiting the winery, and from Savemart in Madera. In Fresno it can be found at Whole Foods, BevMo and other stores.

It is also sold in nearly every state in the U.S. and about 20 other countries, including England the Netherlands Taiwan, Signapore, and Japan.

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