The Madera Wine Trail: Gorgeous Scenery, Great Wine, Near Yosemite!
“No temple made with hands can compare to Yosemite,” wrote famed naturalist John Muir. “Every rock in its walls seems to glow with life.”
And there is a reason for that. Millions of reasons, actually. Spy the stunning cliff formations… hike among the towering giant sequoias…. picnic in settings filled with picturesque views.
Then venture outside the park, and visit Oakhurst and Coarsegold, towns as rich in history as the gold mined throughout the region. Relax in the surroundings of scenic Bass Lake, or stroll through local specialty shops.
And don’t forget to save a day or two for exploring the Madera Wine Trail.
As members of the California Treasures Wine Club have come to know, not all of California’s great wines are made in the Napa Valley. Stunning elixirs also are crafted in Sonoma County, Mendocino County, Livermore Valley, the Delta area, Amador County, Paso Robles, Monterey, Santa Barbara and elsewhere.
In fact, a growing cluster of family-owned wineries in Madera County are becoming favorite spots for wine connoisseurs.
While tasting rooms are open year-round (with varying hours), special wine tasting events are offered three times a year. For a modest free, visitors purchase a souvenir glass and then travel to participating locations on the Madera Wine Trail, where they can indulge in a wide variety of wines, scrumptious food and outstanding entertainment.
Around Valentine’s Day, the vintners host a wine and chocolate weekend. Other special weekends normally are scheduled in May and November.
Here are a few recommended stops along the trail…
- Westbrook Wine Farm – Located on a mountainous 40-acre parcel at 1,800 feet above sea level, near the southern end of Yosemite National Park, this winery’s signature bottling is known as Fait Accompli. It’s a Bordeaux-style field blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Malbec, Petit Verdot and Carmenere grapes that are all fermented together.
- Chateau Lasgoity – Owned by John Lasgoity and his sister Michele , this small winery is situated on the vineyard propertythat their great-grandparents purchased in 1903. A great place to see old, gnarled vines up-close.
- Pacific Crest Vineyard & Wine Company – Part of the historic Albonico Ranch, Pacific Crest was founded in 1998 by Martin Nonini, who embraces an “Old world” style of winemaking. In addition to the “usual suspect” varieties, Nonini produces fine renditions of Muscat and Petite Sirah.
- Quady Winery – Andrew and Laurel Quady make nationally acclaimed dessert wines that rival the ice wines of the world’s cold climes. Orange Muscat and Black Muscat are among the unusual grape varieties embraced by the Quadys, who also make Port-style wines and a Vermouth that’s full of personality.
- Birdstone Winery – Some wineries are specialists; others are generalists. At Birdstone, virtually every grape variety grown in the Madera area is either grown or purchased and made into wine. Standouts include a delicious Barbera and a refreshing Grenache Rose.
- Ficklin Vineyards – This is the winery that has stood the test of time in the Madera region. It was founded in 1946 by David Ficklin, and today is operated by David’s son, Peter, who continues to make wonderful Port-style wines utilizing traditional Portuguese varieties.
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FOR FURTHER INFORMATION
(Always Inquire Before Traveling)
Yosemite National Park
Madera Vintners Assn.
Westbrook Wine Farm
Pacific Crest Vineyard
& Wine Company