Andrew and Laurel Quady left crowded southern California and their jobs in pyrotechnics and merchandising to pursue their dream: a non-urban way of life making wine. Returning to school, Andrew graduated with a Masters in Food Science-Enology from UC Davis and Laurel became an accountant. In 1975 they made their first port from Amador County Zinfandel at the now defunct Lodi Vintners where Andrew was working as an assistant winemaker. In 1977, settled in Madera in California’s Central Valley with Andrew working at Heublein, they built a small winery behind their country home and made port on evenings and weekends.
In 1983, a nearby grower brought Andrew Quady some Black Muscat grapes that were previously destined for sacramental wine at a local church. When the church ceased operations, the grower was left with truckloads of ripe, unwanted Black Muscat. The grower heard through the grapevine that newcomer Quady had some success with Orange Muscat, so he knocked on Quady's door, and the rest is history.
Quady handled the Black Muscat in the same manner as their Essensia Orange Muscat: crushing, chilling and allowing the grapes to macerate. He added wine spirits to arrest the fermentation. On draining the tank the winery began to smell of roses! In his amazement he held a naming contest and selected Elysium, "state of eternal bliss" in Greek, as a name for this exciting muscat wine.
Elysium's violet-crimson color and lychee/rose aroma develop after the fruit attains full maturity. This requires a warm climate. In warmer years the colour is darker and the aroma is more intense. Elysium is wonderful with cheeses, especially goat's cheese or Gorgonzola; with desserts containing red fruits, such as Summer Pudding; with dark chocolate and with cream desserts and cheesecake. Elysium poured onto vanilla ice cream is an effortless favourite.