Annie and I met Ray going on 8 years ago when we first started dating. This is back when I was not much into wine but Annie convinced me to go wine tasting about a week or two into dating. One of our first stops was J. Lohr Winery because it is close to where I used to live.
Turns out that was a great decision. Many of the people that worked there at the time became friends and some even became family by choice. Ray was one of those people. Not only would we see him anytime we went in to taste or grab some wine from J. Lohr but we’d see him and his wife, Shirley, downtown at Vinoteca or Pony Club on the wine nights.
Ray was always kind, direct, smart, witty, and funny. He had a kind smile and a warm laugh. I can’t tell you how many stories he told us about wine and travel but the man was a wealth of knowledge. One of my favorite times was when he invited us to his home for a little birthday party. Of course there was wine and food, great conversation and laughter…but the highlight for me was when he opened a large format bottle of 1986 J. Lohr Chardonnay.
Yes it was cool to open an old WHITE wine…but Ray educated me and the way he educated me was fun and kind. That was Ray, in my eyes. He was the fun, funny, kind, old guy that didn’t look down on me due to my youth or lack of knowledge…he was solid.
Thanks Ray. I guess the simplest way to put it is, I/we appreciate you. You did good. You lived a good life. You made your dent in the universe!