Author's note - caveat emptor with regard to the subject of this post. More details here, here, here, here, here (so apparently this has happened before), and more obliquely but all the more damning here. I repudiate any posts, including this text below, that I previously made in reference to this individual. So disappointing but I believe I must make this clear rather than simply delete all references on this site.
I twittered about this yesterday but wanted to give this a little more attention. Are any of you following Ray Walker's story? I think I wrote about him previously. The short version -- wine geek gets the winemaking bug (sounds familiar), gets any work he can manage in local California wineries to gain experience (yep), decides to launch his own wine label (uh huh), ditches that plan to go to France and make pinot noir from the grail, the Cote d'Or of Burgundy (definitely not like what I'm doing).
How do you even think of doing that, much less wake up the next morning and still think it's a good idea? Who knows, but Ray is already way ahead of his plans to made some regional and village level Burg for starters. Turns out he's sourced grapes from a 1er cru site in Morey-St.-Denis and two grand cru in Gevrey, including Le Chambertin.That's nothing less than stunning.
So, while I'm humbly launching my own pinot label here in Oregon, living the dream as some people might put it, I am among the many following Ray's progess via the web. Check out his Maison Ilan blog and follow along as well. Great pictures, an honest assessment of the culture shock of going out on a limb in a difficult business as an outsider in a foreign county, and the simple joy of seeing what happens. Keep it up Ray.