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Blog Explore One of the OLDEST Wine Regions in the US - The Madera Wine Trail
Alex Silgalis | 08/26/2020Food & Wine, Local Agri-Tourism, Road Trip, Tours, Wineries & Agri-Tourism, Winery/Brewery/Wine Bars |   

Explore One of the OLDEST Wine Regions in the US - The Madera Wine Trail

Do you love grapes and want to experience the real soul of California wines? Then the Madera Wine Trail should be on your bucket list. What is considered by many as the best kept secret in California wines, this is your chance to enjoy premium flagship alongside small vineyards where you can actually talk to the winemakers themselves.

Tradition is an understatement on the Madera Wine Trail. Not just one of the oldest grape growing regions in California, it's one of the oldest in all of America. In the late 1800’s, immigrants from places like Italy, France, and Armenia settled here where they began growing grapes similar to their homelands. Using their old-world wine-making techniques and expertise, two major wineries began to ship their wines all over the world. While few of the original wineries survived the prohibition era, new ones emerged in the late 1930’s.

This region is long known for producing award-winning port and dessert wines, such as the Old Vine Tinta Port from Ficklin Vineyards. In the past few years, the Madera distinction has experienced a new renaissance in all types of wine. Its microclimate is cooled by the San Joaquin River in the southwest and the Sierra Nevada Mountains on the east. Add to that the varied soil types in the county, and you create a great foundation for the development of premium wines.

Spring on the Westbrook Wine Farm

Of course, we have the “old guard” of Ficklin Vineyards, producing the most awarded port in the U.S. since 1948. And Papagni Wines, who's been crafting wine for over 95 years since Demetrio Papagni emigrated from Italy. Once you've tasted a Papagni wine, it's easy to see why they are one of the most award-winning wineries in the state.

Toca Winery


But many new, small wineries have joined them along the Madera Wine Trail, adding to the wonders of this region.

Toca Madera Winery – Making small-lot estate wines from warm weather grapes such as Tempranillo, Moscato Giallo and many others.

Quady Winery – An internationally acclaimed maker of sweet wines such as Vya Vermouth and Starboard (Port).

San Joaquin Winery – Owned & operated by farmer Steve Schafer, he followed his dream to produce wines from a Madera vineyard.

Birdstone Winery – A family owned vineyard producing many award-winning wines from varietals such as Dolcetto, Malbec, Primitivo and many others.

Idle Hour Winery & Kitchen – Oakhurst’s first winery, they use sustainably grown grapes, embracing the old-world style of native yeasts & gravity flow.

Westbrook Wine Farm – Near Bass Lake in the Sierra Nevada foothills, they produce wines in the traditional Claret style by co-fermenting grapes rather than making separate varietal wines and blending them.

Fäsi Estate Winery – Overlooking the beautiful backdrop of the Sierra Nevada Mountains, this hidden gem is known for their world-class award-winning Argentinean and Syrah wines, in addition to their white and rose styles.

The Madera Wine Trail provides an experience few other regions can. From old world techniques and state-of-the-art technology, you can experience them all in the same day. Madera County winemakers celebrate each other’s unique wine & winery styles and so can you!


Like what you see? Save any of the pins below (or how about all of them) to your travel planning board(s) to give you an easy way to find your way back here!  Also check out our other itineraries as well as blog posts for more ideas and pins!

Alex Silgalis

Alex founded localfreshies.com® in 2014 to be the #1 website providing the “local scoop” on where to eat, drink & play in mountain towns throughout North America. When he’s not writing and executing marketing strategies for small businesses & agencies, he’s in search of the deepest snow in the winter and tackiest dirt in the summer.

Our annual Visit Yosemite | Madera County Visitors Guide can answer all your questions about visiting California's Gateway to Yosemite. From the park itself to the museums, wineries, art galleries and more throughout Madera County, our guide can help you plan the perfect vacation. Please note that we mail to the USA only, but anyone can download the guide.
Visit Yosemite - Madera County
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