Madera, Calif.- The Madera Vintners Association recently honored three wine industry professionals who have shaped the region’s winemaking success at the 3rd annual “Evening of Accolades” awards dinner on March 20, 2014 at San Joaquin Wine Company. The four course wine dinner was catered by The Painted Table, and was emcee’d by Alex Delgado, host of KSEE 24’s Central Valley Today show.
Westbrook Wine Farm Vineyard and Winery, Proprietors Ray and Tammy Krause, was selected as Winery of the Year. The Madera Vintners Association proudly gives this award to a winery that pays special attention to the details in wine production, the betterment of the Madera wine region and that has shaped the local wine industry in many positive ways. Westbrook Wine Farm is celebrating its sixteenth vintage this year, a culmination of fifty-one years of winemaking experience. In 1987, Ray Krause, then owner of Farview Farm Vineyard Winery in Templeton, California, purchased the forty-acre lot which was originally “Paint Horse Ranch” along Fine Gold Creek in the historic Sierra gold mining hamlet of O’Neals. Shortly after, the first vines were planted for Fait Accompli, a co-fermented field blend of six Bordeaux varieties. “Tammy and I are grateful for this recognition of our efforts to continually improve the quality of fruit and profits to the winegrowers of Madera County,” said Ray Krause.
Anna Marie dos Remedios of Idle Hour Winery was awarded the title of Winemaker of the Year. Anna Marie began making wine as a home winemaker in 2003 as a hobby, while still working as a journalist in Hollister. Eventually she left journalism and began learning minimalist winemaking while working at Calera Wine Company. She interned at Diageo in 2006 and enrolled in the UC Davis Wine Making Certificate Program to further her studies. Anna Marie believes in native yeast fermentations and built a gravity flow winery, both techniques which allow the true expression of the variety and vineyard. She makes small lot, single vineyard designated wines, searching out organic and sustainably grown vineyards throughout Central California, producing Rhone varieties from Madera, Pinot Noir from the Santa Lucia Highlands and Tempranillo, Petite Sirah and Cabernet Franc from Clarksburg. Idle Hour Winery is located in Oakhurst, California in the Madera County just south of Yosemite National Park and has a satellite tasting room in Carmel Valley in Monterey County.
Ralph Fäsi, of Fäsi Estate Winery, was honored as Winegrower of the Year. This award recognizes the major contribution a winegrower brings to the local wine industry and economy, along with the quality of grapes distributed to each winery. In 1999, Ralph Fasi set out to create a Syrah Vineyard in the San Joaquin Valley unlike any other in the region. The 42 acre “Vineyard 2000” is the culmination of this idea and is built around one very simple, yet unique concept: Create an organically certified vineyard that marries the long traditions of wine grape growing while being good stewards of the land. In April 2012 Fäsi Estate established a boutique winery and tasting room located on the doorsteps to Yosemite National Park, in Friant, California, Madera County. “I’ve always been intrigued by Madera County’s great potential to become a leader in the wine growing industry. We have the perfect climate and landscape for viticulture, and I am proud to contribute in a small part to its growth. Over time, I hope our winemaking not only offers delicious wines for consumers but further contributes to our local economy and attracts new tourists to the region,” said Fasi.
At the awards dinner, The Madera Vintners Association also recognized the 2013 People’s Choice Award winners, which are voted for by guests at the California Wine Month Reception in September. Chosen in the red wine category was Birdstone Winery Autumn’s Hart Malbec. In the white wine category were tied winners, San Joaquin Wine Company’s 2012 Green Eyes Chardonnay and Birdstone Winery’s Neyman Family Viognier. The favorite for dessert wine was Papagni Wines’ 2011 Pinot Grigio.
The MVA is proud to recognize these individuals who have helped bring success to the region’s wine industry. The Madera Wine Trail will be hosting “Yosemite Grant Wine Celebration” on May 3 & 4, where guests can visit participating wineries and taste dozens of excellent local wines. More information about the MVA and the Madera Wine Trail can be found on www.MaderaWineTrail.com or by calling 800-613-0709.