Ray Walker- Cherrypicker

I started my 5-day trip to Burgundy at Ray Walker’s house in NSG. I was simply stunned by what he has done there. It is inspiring, and a terrific testament to well, sounds cheesy, but just good old human spirit, drive, set-your-mind-to-it and knock-it-out gumption. Ray arrives in Burgundy with little to no contacts. He meets people. He finds a house, a PERFECT house, a dream house for most of us with romantic ideas of the French countryside, with a cellar that the owner says “no one has made wine down here for 90 years…it would great if someone did it again”. He finds grapes, then finds even better grapes. He keeps looking and buying grapes. He buys some wooden fermenters. He buys an old press. He starts crushing grapes…again, with no formal experience. Just talking to people, reading, etc. Next thing you know, Maison Ilan is born, the wine is delicious, serious stuff and he is living the dream. The wines are lithe, long, pure, and nervy. F-ing fantastic, I love it.

When I met Ray, I was still my grizzled old retail wine hawker self. He was the bright-eyed, I-just-flipped-for-wine customer. Not 5-6 years later, he is A DOMAINE. A MAISON. I love it. He is a wealth of knowledge, and took time to drive us around the vineyards, explaining soils, and showing us his private spot to pick cherries.

Thanks, Ray. I can’t thank you enough for your time, and wish you nothing but continued success.

Thanks for sharing this.
Diane K and I hope to meet with Ray when we head to Burgundy in October.
Sadly, I have yet to try his wines. :frowning:

Wish I was a better iPhone photog!

Nice read and amazing what Ray has done in a couple of years, I have a feeling the story is just beginning.

Not much room for a forklift in that cellar!

Great post. I agree about Ray’s clear passion. The 10’s were impressive in barrel, so he looks to be two for two. If he keeps adding vineyards at this rate, he’ll soon need a bigger cellar!

Nice post and photos. Thank you.

Nice work, Ray.

Nice underpants Ray!