MADERA’S WINE HERITAGE & CHARM
It’s the Wine Industry’s Best Kept Secret – wineries making award-winning wines just south of Yosemite National Park. Madera County has a long tradition producing wine and is one of the oldest grape growing regions in America. The “Madera“ appellation is one of the oldest designated AVAs in California. The Madera Vintners Association was organized in 2001 as a collective voice for the area’s winemaking families. This association is dedicated to the common purpose of promoting excellence in winemaking from a region rich in potential through a commitment to modern winemaking techniques and sustainable vineyard practices.
In the late 1800’s, settlers homesteaded small farms and planted grapes to produce wine. These settlers came to Madera bringing their old world winemaking expertise from such countries as Italy, Armenia, France and others. Before the turn of the century, Madera County was host to two wineries that shipped wines bearing the Madera label to many parts of the world. Few of these original wineries survived prohibition, but new wineries emerged starting in the late 1930’s. Madera County has long been known for producing world-renown dessert wines and ports. Recently, many new small wineries have joined these flagship premium wineries. This current renaissance is driven by the recognition that Madera County is a unique wine growing region. This microclimate is bounded and cooled by the San Joaquin River on the southwest and the Sierra Nevada Mountains on the east. Warm summer temperatures and varied soil types in Madera County provide a foundation for the full development of the grapes. Recognizing these distinctive characteristics, Madera was designated an American Viticultural Area (AVA) in 1985.
There are now several small, family-owned wineries along the Madera Wine Trail. Many of these wineries are situated in the midst of the vineyards from which they harvest their grapes. Oftentimes, the winemakers’ generational roots are in growing wine grapes. Their attentive care and expertise ensures the production of high quality fruit, a critical first step for producing exceptional wine. Guests visiting the Madera Wine Trail enjoy the benefits of the region’s rich history, knowledgeable hosts and tasting rooms that are still small enough that you can visit with the winemakers themselves. Along the Madera Wine Trail, visitors can experience old world techniques and state-of-the-art technology in the same day. Madera County winemakers celebrate each other’s unique wine and winery styles and so can you!