“On Tuesday, June 24, 2014, I entered the Governor’s office at the State Capitol in Sacramento at 9 a.m.” aren’t words I get to write often, but I posted 69 photographs and used more than 2,500 words to caption them online at JohnOnWine.com to describe that day.
I would encourage you to go online and see the pictures and read the whole story, but here’s a column version.
That day, the Best of Show winners from the 2014 California State Fair Wine Competition were announced.
Each of the big prize winners were notified so they could come collect their California Golden Bear Trophy at a ceremony to be held on the east steps of the capitol.
Guinness McFadden received an invitation because the NV McFadden Sparkling Cuvee Brut had been judged Best of Show for Sparkling Wines.
While Guinness was out of the state meeting a new grandson, Guinness III, an idea was hatched to use the event as an opportunity to surprise Guinness with additional recognition, a Resolution from one of the CA State Houses.
Emails, phone calls, and Facebook messages flew. One of Mendocino County’s most “plugged in” folks, Heidi Cusick Dickerson, was reached. The offices of both Assemblyman Wesley Chesbro and Senator Noreen Evans went into overdrive and in an incredibly tight time frame research into Guinness’ life and Resolution language was fashioned and moved through both houses in time to be presented at Tuesday’s wine award ceremony.
Wearing my McFadden retail manager hat, I closed the McFadden tasting room Tuesday morning to see Guinness receive his Golden Bear Trophy, and his surprise Joint Resolution. Wearing my John On Wine newspaper column guy hat, I was thrilled with the day being so Mendocino focused. I wrote last week about four of the seven Golden Bear Trophies for California’s best wines going to Mendocino County wineries.
After two other Golden Bear Trophies were awarded, Guinness was called up onto the steps of the Capitol, and Assemblyman Wesley Chesbro took the microphone from the State Fair folks and explained that while everyone in the wine industry is deserving, every constitute is valued, the reality is that some folks are just a touch more deserving, and today Guinness McFadden would be receiving a Resolution from both California’s Assembly and Senate.
I’ve worked with Guinness long enough to know his moods, his feelings. I watched him surprised and deeply moved. Here is the text of the spectacularly deserved Joint Resolution:
California Legislature Assembly Resolution
By the Honorable Wesley Chesbro, 2nd Assembly District; and
the Honorable Noreen Evans, 2nd Senatorial District;
Relative to commending
WHEREAS, On June 24, 2014, NV McFadden Sparkling Brut, a wine produced by McFadden Vineyard, will receive the California State Fair Best of Show Sparkling Award, and upon this occasion, the owner of McFadden Vineyard, Guinness McFadden, is deserving of special public recognition; and
WHEREAS, Growing up the oldest of five children in the upper west side of New York City, New York, Guinness McFadden turned down an Ivy League scholarship in 1956 to attend the University of Notre Dame, where he received his Bachelor’s degree in History and participated on the varsity wrestling team; and
WHEREAS, After graduating, Guinness enlisted with the United States Navy; serving for nine years,his notable activities during this time included serving a tour in the Mediterranean, where he developed his love for wine; captaining a river boat in Vietnam, where he learned fluent Vietnamese and earned a Bronze Star medal; and serving as an admiral’s aid in Lisbon, Portugal, where he again acquired the native tongue; and
WHEREAS, After leaving the Navy, Guinness returned to the United States in 1969 and enrolled at Stanford Business School; after a brief period, he realized that his interests would be best served elsewhere, and he ultimately settled down in a Potter Valley, Mendocino County, California; and
WHEREAS, McFadden Vineyard originated in Potter Valley as nothing more than two small vineyards that were each no larger than 15 acres; today, Guinness’ business encompasses some of the oldest vines of the nearly 1,500 acres of vineyards in Potter Valley, and his grapes have represented a significant portion of many award-winning wines in Napa, Sonoma, and Mendocino counties; and
WHEREAS, A community leader whose unwavering dedication to organic farming has continued for over 40 years, Guinness supplemented his Eco-friendly vision of sustainable agriculture in 1983 by building a hydroelectric power plant capable of powering 100 homes, and in 2005, he installed 300 solar panels to make the farm completely energy independent; McFadden Farm now produces energy far beyond its own needs and provides enough extra to power over half of Potter Valley’s businesses and residences; and
WHEREAS, The contributions Guinness McFadden has made to the welfare and improvement of the local agricultural community have been invaluable, and he has served as a worthy model for all public-spirited people of the State; now, therefore, be it
RESOLVED BY ASSEMBLY MEMBER WESLEY CHESBRO AND SENATOR NOREEN EVANS, That Guinness McFadden be commended for the significant contributions he has made to the people of the local community and throughout California, and extended sincere best wishes for continued success in the future.
Members Resolution No. 1464
Dated this 24th day of June, 2014
Honorable Wesley Chesbro 2nd Assembly District.
Honorable Noreen Evans 2nd Senatorial District.
Seriously, they could have gone on, but you get the gist. Congratulations to Guinness McFadden on recognition of your over 40 years of contribution to the Mendocino County wine scene.
Party at McFadden Farm this Saturday! www.McFaddenFarm.com
John Cesano writes a popular wine blog at www.johnonwine.com, and is the Tasting Room Manager at the McFadden Tasting Room in Hopland.