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 in Lodi.
In 1977, settled in Madera in California’s San Joaquin Valley with Andrew working at a nearby winery, they built their own small winery behind their country home and made port on evenings and weekends. In 1980 they made a fortified dessert wine from the obscure Orange Muscat grape variety.
The wine, Essensia, was unlike anything in the dessert wine field and became a major success. In 1983, opportunity knocked when they were offered a crop of Black Muscat grapes that became Elysium, the first dessert wine to smell of roses.
By 1982 the expanding business needed space and Andrew and Laurel needed help. While still working on his winemaking degree at Fresno State, now winemaker Michael Blaylock moonlighted evenings during crush. Michael became Quady’s full time winemaker in 1984 and never looked back. Quady’s continued rise and recognition across the industry for extremely high quality is due to Michael’s exacting standards from the vineyard to the bottle.
Cheryl Russell, Quady’s general manager also joined full time in 1984, and the dedicated team worked together to achieve consistent success. With their enthusiasm and integrity the winery continued to grow, developing more unique wines: Starboard (our euphemism for port), Electra (white and red) and Vya vermouth. For more about Quady’s winemaker, Michael Blaylock, and general manager, Cheryl Russell.