Andrew and Laurel Quady are the founders, C.E.O. and C.F.O. respectively, of Quady Winery. Their path into the wine world began with an exodus from southern California to pursue their dream: a rural way of life making wine. Formerly working in underwater explosives for the U.S. military, peaceful, plant loving Andrew was looking for a natural redirection. He returned to school at U.C. Davis, graduating at the top of his class with a masters in Food Science-Enology. Laurel went back to school and became a licensed C.P.A., opening her own office and funding the fragile first decade of winery production with her flourishing small town practice. Needless to say, Andrew's inventive nature keeps them both on their toes: with his pioneering use of rare muscat varietals, and his fascination with aromatic herbs, Quady tends to take the market by surprise. The Quadys are known for an uncommonly energetic zest. When they are not exposing the world to their wines, forecasting sales, responding to emails, or navigating financial statements, they can be found hiking the Sierra Nevadas, or enjoying their garden, friends and family.
A California native with a strong interest in the environment, Michael Blaylock is responsible for three decades of gold medal wines at Quady Winery. As an integral part of the winery management team, Michael holds the title Vice President of Winemaking and presides over a wide range of production, labeling, and general winery management concerns. Out in the field he collaborates with long time Quady grape growers and monitors the Quady estate vineyard to assure fruit quality. An advocate for the San Joaquin Valley agricultural community, Michael sits on the Board of Directors for both the California Wine Institute and the Family Winemakers of California. Locally he is a member of Vino Fino, one of the oldest wine tasting clubs in the San Joaquin Valley. A former Peace Corps Volunteer assigned to the Philippines, he helped develop new income-generating jobs for local fishermen, which included establishing a successful wine production enterprise. Inspired by this experience, Blaylock returned to the U.S. and entered the graduate enology program at California State University Fresno where he received his Master of Science degree in Agricultural Chemistry with an emphasis in Enology. In 1984 he joined Quady Winery full time. His unique standard for excellence year after year ensures that Quady wines are unforgettable dessert-on-the-palate experiences. Mike has been known to say, even during the sixteen-hour days of crush, “What really matters is that I’m still having fun!”
In 1983 Cheryl started working for Quady and Brash, a local Madera accounting company, where Laurel Quady was a partner in the firm. While working for Quady and Brash she also managed Quady Winery's payables, receivables and sales. With the winery expansion and addition of office space in 1985 Andy Quady offered Cheryl the accounting position at the winery facility. Cheryl is now Quady Winery's general manager and vice president in charge of staff and operations. Cheryl remembers the early days of Quady Winery: "When I first started working at the winery it was myself, Andy, Michael Blaylock and a few general winery workers. We now have about 20 full time employees and a handful of part-time employees. Since I started working at the winery we have gone from producing about 3,000 cases of Essensia and some port “Starboard” to 12 different wines of about 80,000 cases. Thanks to our loyal long-time dedicated staff, brilliant winemaking, and Andrew Quady’s ability to come up with some wild and crazy products, with Laurel Quady keeping us all in line and the books balanced, we have managed to be one of the premiere sweet wine makers in the U.S.
Darin has been Assistant Winemaker at Quady Winery for nine years. A graduate of California State University Fresno’s enology program, Darin comes to Quady from Simpson Meadow Winery. Prior to winemaking, he spent several years in the advertising industry. It was while working with food stylists and attending client dinner meetings that Darin discovered a passion for food and wine. He briefly considered a second career as a chef, but in the end chose to trade the long hours and frenzied pace of the art department for the long hours and frenzied pace of the crush pad. He says he feels like an artisan when watching over the Vya vermouth: “It’s heady, If I dig into a giant bag of cardamom in the morning, it gets in my clothes and I’m just thinking pie all day long. As you infuse and steep, the flavors deepen and change and build quickly. With wine, the deepening of the flavors takes months, but because vermouth is really like a tea, you can see the results in a much shorter time."
Dan began his career at Quady Winery in July 1985. His first tasks involved working with 500 or so barrels of wine in the aging process and assisting with bottling and labeling. Bottling was done by hand and labeling with a New Jersey Pony Labeler. As the winery grew so did his responsibilities. When Dan started working at Quady we were producing about 5,000 cases of wine. Today he manages a production crew that produces 80,000 cases of wine; bottles and labels all year long, crushes 600 tons of grapes, and produces thirteen different wines. Dan manages and supervises the bottling and labeling of our wines on a 16 head filler corker and a pressure sensitive labeler. He supervises a crew of 5-10 people at any given time.
Mauro has been at Quady Winery since March 29th, 1988. With over twenty five years of cellar work to his credit, Mauro supervises cellar tasks and keeps everything in excellent working order. Mauro enjoys the hands-on nature of his job, working alongside longtime Quady managers, and being a part of wine production - from crushing to filtration to bottling, and all the cleaning in between. He's an avid Eagles, Giants, Blackhawks and NASCAR fan.
Dave came to Quady Winery in 2002 when Laurel's hard drive crashed and panic set in. Dave was working as an IT Consultant and was called in to solve the problem. He was able to retrieve her data off the dead drive and get everything up and running like new. While working on Laurel’s computer, he noticed the office staff was passing around a phone cord to check email and surf the web. Dave knew a friend who had just completed setting up a wireless broadband tower and was looking for a site to test. He insisted that Quady be the first site on this new form of internet in Madera. An exciting partnership formed and in 2004 Dave decided to join the Quady team full time. Over the past 10 years, Dave has picked up several additional duties like pouring at wine tastings, managing exports, supervising office and tasting room staff, wine trail and club party planning, backup bookkeeping, and assisting GM Cheryl Russell. “I still can’t decide what I like best about Quady… working with the IT infrastructure, our importers, the Quady Crew, or pouring at tastings. If I were forced to choose, it would have to be working with Andrew, Laurel, and the rest of the crew. Especially our Winemaker, Michael Blaylock, and Assistant Winemaker Darin Peterson… they are hilarious!”
Allison first worked for her parents at Quady Winery as a general winery worker in high school running lab tests and doing all manner of winery work - which mostly means cleaning equipment! After college she worked on a backcountry trail crew in Montana, and then joined the Peace Corps to help farmers integrate agro-forestry techniques on their farms in West Africa. Returning home with a love for sustainiable agriculture, she helped her brother clear his land for grape growing in Oregon and then went to school to study sustainable agriculture at Tufts. She's worked to certify Organic farms for California Certified Organic Farmers and as the Program Director at The Ecological Farming Association. At Quady Winery, she's learning the sales, marketing and communications side of an agricultural business. She aspires to tell the Quady story as well as it can be told and is proud to work with the dedicated Quady crew.
Shelley has worked at Quady since October 2003. Originally hired as our in house graphic designer, she has taken on the duties of managing our tasting room and wine club. She enjoys working at Quady because it is a family owned company and everyone works together as a team to accomplish the main goal: to put great wine products out into the markets. In the summer to escape our hot valley heat she is often at the local lakes, in the mountains hiking and camping, or visiting family in Montana. In the cooler months she enjoys snowboarding at the local ski resort, bowling, watching football with her family, and baking treats for our hard working production crew.
Cynthia has been with Quady for fifteen years. She started as the Promotional Secretary and moved into the roles of Administrative Assistant and Human Resources Representative. She also coordinates out of town events and logistics for the Quady team. Cynthia often interfaces with the public via email, on the phones, and in the tasting room. She successfully manages the variety in her role and appreciates that, "at Quady Winery, it's like a family." She especially enjoys meeting new people and introducing newcomers to Quady wines. She has been married for 26 years to her loving husband Paul (her high school sweetheart) and she has three beautiful daughters. She is a proud grandmother to one granddaughter and is expecting her second grandchild in September 2014.
Courtney began working at Quady in December of 2007 as bookkeeper. She grew up and spent most of her life in the Shaver Lake area, a popular recreational town in the foothills near Madera. Courtney has worked in various family businesses, and the local ski resort. She enjoys traveling and reading, and most recently, being a grandma. Courtney says she loves the family-like atmosphere at Quady.
Dana Fares met Andrew Quady in 1996 when she was making cocktails with high-end vodka in Los Angeles. He walked up to her at an event with a bottle of a still little known Quady wine aromatized with two herbs that he called Deviation and asked if she could make a cocktail with it. Her cocktail won them over and she was intrigued by the idea of working for a small unique business in an alcohol industry she saw as dominated by very large competitors. With several years under her belt working for big liquor companies in L.A., she was excited by the opportunity to work with fortified wines, moscatos, and vermouth. When the fancy vodka company she was working for decided to take their vodka back to the Ukraine, the Quadys asked her to join their team. The opportunity to work for an innovative, resourceful, (and at times insane) family business won her over. Seven years on she remains smitten by the unique Quady way of doing business – for the love of it. Her cocktails grace the pages of the newest Quady cocktail book, and a few bars in Chicago and Los Angeles.
Raymond has been working at Quady Winery since October 11th, 2006.
Janet has been part of the Quady crew since March 7th, 2012
Johnnie has been a part of the Quady crew since July 7th, 2011.
Josh Mejia, the son of Production Manager, Dan Mejia, has been part of the Quady crew since May 17, 2011.
Jose has been a part of the Quady crew since March 14, 2007.
Vanessa has been working at Quady Winery since December 12th, 2011.
Michael has been working at Quady Winery since February 28th, 2009.
James had been working at Quady Winery since April 19th, 2014.
Shayden has been part of the Quady crew since May 21, 2014.