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Copyright © 2016
by Fred McMillin
for August 10, 2000
Chemical engineer Andrew Quady thought the fireworks
were over when he left his pyrotechnics job in
Southern California to obtain a Masters in
Food Science and Winemaking at U.C.-Davis.
Then, in 1980, he started working with a little
known grape variety, the orange muscat. Author
James Halliday: The orange muscat dessert wines
have powered the Quady empire ever since,
accounting for about half of the sales...none of these muscat wines is easy to make, but Quady has demonstrated absolute mastery.
The fireworks were not over!
The Rest of the Story
Man's first wine was probably made from a member of the Muscat family.
In the Middle Ages when the Popes resided at Avignon near the mouth of the Rhone River, they came to appreciate the local Muscat wine so much that in the region it still is called "the nectar of the popes."
Four centuries later the district started making sweet, dessert, Muscats. It was these that served as a model for Andrew Quady as he began developing his own version. One of them is our...
Wine of the Day
Electra California Orange Muscat Wine, 1999
Winemaking—Heat transfer is a major topic
in chemical engineering. Andy uses much of
it in making Electra. He transfers plenty of
heat OUT of the Muscat juice, as he ferments
it at unusually low tempertures to maximize
the unique orange blossom-apricot aromas and
flavors. Then, he stops the fermentation by
putting the yeast out of action with even lower
temperatures. Could the popes do this? Well,
a Frenchman did invent the first refrigeration
machine. His name was Ferdinand Carre, but
it was created four centuries (1862) after
the popes were sipping Muscat. Andy was creating
something new, with magnified aromas and flavors.
Character—Plenty of acid to balance the
sweetness. Alcohol is a low 4%. I like it
on melon-vanilla ice cream.
How long aged in barrels before bottling?—Are
you kidding? No oak. No aging. It's bottled
within three weeks after termination of
fermentation. It has just a touch of fizz.
Contact—Phone (559)673-8068, FAX (559)673-0744. Ask them how to make a delicious Electra Sorbet.
Where's the Winery? It's in the hot California Central Valley at the town of Madera. That is also the name of the surrounding Madera viticultural area of 600 torrid square miles. When we last checked there was only one crop in the area generating more income than wine grapes: table grapes.
For More on Electra—See the Sept. 15, 1998
WineDay titled, "A Quady Honoree".
|| About the
Fred McMillin, a veteran wine writer, has taught wine history for 30
years on three continents. In 1995, the Academy of Wine Communications
honored Fred with one of only 22 Certificates of Commendation awarded to
American wine writers. For information about the wine
courses he teaches every month at either San Francisco State University
or San Francisco City College (Fort Mason Division), please fax him at
This page created August 2000