Madson Wines is a collaboration between two young men, Cole Thomas and Ken Swegles. They met on a bottling line 2013 and in 2016, after traveling, tasting and working in wine, they decided to make wine under their own label- Madson Wines.
Cole's love for wine originates from his love for agriculture. Prior to his career in wine, he worked as an organic vegetable farmer, as an edible landscaper, and as manager of a non-profit seed saving project. Cole found viticulture when he started working for Jeff Emery of Santa Cruz Mountain Vineyard. He began farming Pinot Noir at Branciforte Creek Vineyard and later moved to Victoria, Australia where he worked in vineyards on the Mornington Peninsula. He made Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, and Shiraz at Paringa Estate Winery. Cole then returned to Santa Cruz Mountain Vineyard, as Assistant Winemaker. He served four years here, stepping away to work in Central Otago, New Zealand for Prophet's Rock and Amisfield Winery in 2017. Cole returned to the northern hemisphere to bottle the first Madson wines and launch Madson Wines in Spring 2018. Winemakers such as: Ken Burnhap, Jeff Emery, Lindsay & Jamie McCall, Sam Hambour, Paul Pujol, Stephanie Lambert and André Lategan have inspired Cole to make California wines that express terroir with poise and concentration.
When Ken is not tending to vines or making wine, he is foraging for mushrooms, fishing, barbecuing, or hosting dinners. Ken has an incredible palate and he is inspired by all things culinary. The world of wine began for Ken as a harvest intern at Byington Winery in the Santa Cruz Mountains in 2007. He later began working in a small family vineyard in Zayante gaining experience that provided a foundation in pruning and canopy management. In 2008, he worked vintage for David Bruce before studying Viticulture at UC Davis. He eventually became a vineyard foreman for David Bruce and learned a wealth of knowledge from their consultant Mark Greenspan. He branched out to experience other California appellations and terroir by spending two years working for Williams Selyem in the Russian River Valley. He returned to the Santa Cruz Mountains at Rhys Vineyards in 2012. After completing 5 seasons of viticultural work, Ken was hired on as Assistant Winemaker to Santa Cruz Mountain Vineyard. With two years of cellar time at SCMV, Ken joined Coastal Range Vineyards- managing over 100 vineyards in the Santa Cruz Mountains and Santa Clara Valley. Passion as a driving force, Ken has found time to work for Coastal Range Vineyards, manage vineyards for Madson and start Rhizos Vineyard Consulting.