The Madera Vintners Association Gives Honors for Achievement in Local Wine Industry

Madera, Calif.- The Madera Vintners Association recently honored three wine industry professionals who have shaped the region’s winemaking success at the annual “Evening of Accolades” awards dinner on January 16, 2013 at CRU Wine Company.

Ficklin Vineyards was selected as Winery of the Year. Ficklin Vineyards has been producing award winning traditional Ports for over 64 years. Founded in 1946 by Walter C. Ficklin, Ficklin Vineyards remains the oldest Port winery in the United States. Walter Sr, along with his sons David and Walter Jr, established Ficklin Vineyards as a leader in the wine industry, and Ficklin Vineyards became known as America’s premier Port winery. Today, the third generation carries on the family tradition. With David’s son Peter Ficklin as senior winemaker, and Walter Jr’s son Steve Ficklin as the vineyard manager, Ficklin Vineyards continues to receive accolades for their Ports as well as their leadership. This prosperity is returned to our community in the form of donations, given to over a hundred local charities each year, and by sharing their legacy of experience and knowledge with future wine makers.

Michael Blaylock was awarded the title of Winemaker of the Year. Michael joined Quady Winery in in 1983. As winemaker, Michael continues to produce the now legendary Essensia Orange Muscat and the rose-perfumed Elysium Black Muscat dessert wines as well as the new and exciting Electra. He is currently involved in the development and expansion of the estate Mission Arch and San Miguel Vineyards. The San Miguel Vineyard is devoted to the exclusive development of various Portuguese port varieties for the proprietary Quady Vintage Starboard and the Starboard – Batch 88 ports. Michael continues to be a leader in winemaking in the region and is an inspiration to many in the industry.

Steve Ficklin was honored as Winegrower of the Year. Steve was born in 1944, the very year that his grandfather and father planted the first vineyard, and is the third generation vineyard manager for Ficklin Vineyards. The original plantings are still in production today because of the standard of care he has continued to maintain. Steve is an advocate of sustainable farming, and is forever committed to the stewardship of the soil, water, and air. He has made this his life’s work, to maintain the heritage of these vines that produce the grapes for Ficklin Vineyards wines and Ports.

The Madera Vintners Association also recognized the 2012 People’s Choice Award winners. Overall People’s Choice Award & Dessert Wine: San Joaquin Wine Company’s Pomegranate Sangria, Best White Wine: CRU Wine Company’s 2010 Vineyard Montage Chardonnay and Best Red Wine: Fasi Estate Winery’s 2006 Fasi Crest Syrah.

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 ” Wine & Chocolate Weekend” on February 9 & 10, where guests can visit 12 wineries and taste dozens of excellent local wines. More information about the MVA and the Madera Wine Trail can be found on or by calling 800-613- 0709.