All Dreams lead to France

Well, not everyone’s dreams lead them to France. And, much the same, not all roads lead to Burgundy. In that same thought, I can’t imagine not going to France to make wine. Not too long ago I was on the less exciting side of a Harvest. Just waiting for it kept me up at night. I couldn’t wait to get my hands dirty, to see the fruit coming in. And the experience was awe inspiring. Nothing can take away from that.

Now, just to back up a bit, French wines (Burgundy to be exact) were the first wines that set off alarms with me. Californian wines have provided me with many memorable experiences. The ability to age has been at times mind blowing. Yet, with the wines of Burgundy, there is a delicate strength, seductive grace, that just speaks to all of my senses. I have to try to learn how to make something that beautiful. Something that is expected to age. Something that will be given the chance to age, time to develop. I want to make a wine that follows the tradition of a great Burgundy. And, I simply cannot do the wine justice by attempting to make a Burgundy in California. To me, our local wines are best when they wear their origins on it’s sleeve. At times graceful, other times powerful. Nothing can take away from that. Yet, here in California, I can’t make a Burgundy. And adding my name to the list of others making excellent wines out here does not clear me of this passion and drive that I have for these two specific regions that got me started with this path.

Until recently, this was just a dream. I needed to take a run at it in California first. I had to first get dirt under my nails, let pain seep into my back, and earn a few bloody knuckles. I needed to see the work without to silky sheen of romance creating a haze over my view. One thing I have learned is that making wine is never like what you imagine it to be before you actually jump in and do it. No one is waiting to congratulate you when all is done. The wine is done, hopefully you have learned something that will help in next year’s harvest and you prepare for the next year.

Well, I have been preparing. I have been studying French. Not just the language, but the culture, history and vinification methods. We are set to take a run at it in France. We, as in my family will be taking a small, initial trip to France this coming February to sort things out. I will be going door to door, resume in hand looking for two things: a stagiere (internship) and fruit from Burgundy with the goal of coming back before June for a longer stay. Like I say, I can’t guarantee how things will turn out. But, you will all be in on the process of my journey. Thankfully, I have a good amount of friends that are currently helping the cause by looking for positions for me in both Burgundy.

11 thoughts on “All Dreams lead to France

  1. Ray,

    That’s awesome, email me before you go and I’ll see if I can’t put you in touch with some folks in Burgundy. At the very least, I might be able to meet up as I’ll be in France for most of February.

  2. Thanks Alex! All the advice and support from you has been great! And, why don’t you sign up? There is great reading throughout this site. Vinotas who just posted, Brad Cohelo, Sharon B, Dr Vino….Matter of fact, start your own blog. Hopefully we’ll open a few sometime in the near future as well.

  3. Michel, that would be excellent! Thanks for the offer. I was hoping you would be out there at the same time. We are looking to possibly do 3 weeks. I figure I’ll need all the time I can get. Keep in touch, you have my email.

  4. Beautiful piece Ray- there are some great people in France and your passion will certainly be embraced. Sounds like you’ve got a wonderful family and they have every reason to believe in what you’re doing…go get ’em 😉 Remember to let me know when you’ll be in the Rhone so I can get ahold of the Avrils at Clos des Papes for you. All the best.

  5. Thanks Brad! I’ve been waiting forever to write those words. Thanks for ther offer on putting me in touch with the Avrils. We will be in France from the 2nd to the 22nd I believe. Drop me an email, we need to chat anyhow.

  6. So two wines in 2009? I want to taste that Ilan as soon as it is ready! Like the changes to the site too.

  7. hey Doug! There will be wine from Burgundy. No idea on how many though. You’ll be able to taste as soon as there is some time has passed in barrel. Looking forward to having something to show. Thanks for checking the site.

  8. following a dream is big bold move that most people wouldnt make. good for you, its going to be a brilliant experience. make the most of it, keep up your excellent blog and BON CHANCE!

  9. Hello Kirk! Thank you for the kind words and encouragement. Support from those around me made everything much easier to see as possible.

    Thank you again for reading!


  10. Hello, we had the pleasure of meeting today in Nuit St George at the post office. My husband and I read all about you on the Internet publications and we are very inmpressed with your success and story. We would love to come to your winery this weekend. Please let us know if that would work for you. Otherwise we will follow your growth and look forward to tasting your wine.

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