Raymond Vineyard and Cellar, St Helena
Photograph: Richards Lyon
Roy Raymond was born in San Francisco and grew up in Kentfield. When he finished high school in 1933, he was lucky enough to find work as a cellar rat at Beringer Brothers Winery. The Beringer brothers, Jacob and Frederick, had founded their winery in 1876. In time, Jacob’s son Otto became winemaker, and Otto’s daughter Martha Jane fell in love with Roy. After Repeal, Roy was a key part of a rebuilding. In 1936, he married Martha Jane and by 1956 was both winemaker and assistant general manager. When Roy left Beringer to start his own winery he was general manager.
Roy’s two sons, Roy Jr. and Walter, had grown up alongside him in the winery and vineyards. When Beringer sold to Nestlé,Roy and his sons agreed it was time for wine with Raymond on the label. In 1970, they bought 81 acres south of Zinfandel Lane and Roy’s sons planted vineyard. The first crush was in 1974. Outbuildings doubled as crush pad and tasting room while the three built a winery. As Raymond’s reputation for balanced Cabernet Sauvignon grew, additional acreage was added in St. Helena, Jameson Canyon and Monterey.
Roy was twice president of Napa Valley Vintners and served on various St. Helena councils, and with Robert Mondavi, Louis P. Martini, and Brother Timothy, made sure the new Napa Valley Appellation included all the valleys. Martha Jane died in 1986 and Roy married their longtime friend Stella Williams the following year. Although Raymond was sold to Kirin Brewery Company in 1989, Roy stayed active in the winery until his death, with Roy Jr., president and Walter, winemaker. Kirin sold Raymond to Boisset Family Estates in 2009 and Roy’s children and grandchildren have gone on to other ventures.
Charlie Wagner paved the way for Dick to meet Roy. Although the portrait was taken “on the run,” Dick says, they became good friends and he always felt welcome in Roy’s kitchen, constantly asking him about vineyards and wine.