Wine Should be Fun…and Interesting

Richard Kelsey, Wine Director at Ray's since 2007, has a unique and interesting perspective on wine

Richard Kelsey, Wine Director at Ray’s since 2007, has a unique and interesting perspective on wine

by Richard Kelsey, Ray’s Wine Director

As Wine Director, guests will occasionally ask questions such as: “What exactly is it that you do?” Spend a great deal of time tasting, buying and selling wine. “What is your favorite wine?” Difficult to pick 50, impossible to choose just one. “Do you get to travel to other countries?” All the time…in my dreams.

Recently a woman asked what is it that I enjoy most about being the “wine guy.” Without a doubt, it is having the opportunity to interact with those persons representing the different producers, whether they are from North America, Europe, the Southern Hemisphere, the Middle East or… Other Places.

Humans have always fascinated me, often times the most seemingly mundane things about their lives being the most fascinating stories of all. As any of my distributor representatives would certainly confirm, it would be easy for me to spend an entire afternoon, let alone their scheduled 30 minutes, chatting about things very often having little to do directly with wine.

A classic example may be a recent spontaneous tasting with six Italian producers and the U.S. importer representing them. They happened to be having lunch in the Café and asked their server if I might be about. When I stopped by to say hello, I asked if they had their wines with them. They did. Not having any appointments that afternoon, they the same, we decided that it was a great opportunity to taste through their wines… All of their wines. As it happened, we spent the next two and a half hours chatting about both their professional stories, our shared industry philosophical positions, their families, their pets, all sorts of things. It was great!

Without a doubt the most unusual tasting, worlds apart from anything I’ve previously encountered, occurred last week. A couple contacted me from Interstellar Imports asking if I might have time to taste through some of their portfolio. I did. As it happened, they were, well, very unfamiliar to me in nearly all manner. Something…

Anyway, their wines were absolutely unique. Among my favorites were:

Odyssey Vineyards “Ripley Reserve” 2001

A bold and aggressive yet somehow at the same time feminine blend of entirely obscure varietals.

Blade Walker Wines “Replicant”  1982

So beautiful in appearance, sensual in absolutely every manner, that it seemed as though it couldn’t possibly be real. Personally, it does not matter at all to me if it wasn’t.

Chateau Higgs “Dark Matter” Boson Reserve  2012

This was absolutely the most unusual of all those tasted. The bottle was clear, yet the wine so dark in appearance that light seemed not to pass through its mass. Deeply mysterious in its expression, magnetic in its allure, strangely charmed in its effect.

Note: Above wines not yet available. Delivery dates and points of origin unknown.

So as you can see, being a Wine Director can be quite fascinating in so many ways. Please ask if you have any questions while visiting Ray’s, no matter how mundane you feel they may sound. I’m looking forward to it.

5 responses to Wine Should be Fun…and Interesting

  1. Beth Morris April 1st, 2013 at 11:48 am         Reply

    Loved reading your blog post, Richard! You are a fantastic ‘wine guy’ and an even better human being, with the best stories!! Hope to stop in and see you sometime this summer!

  2. Scarlet Keiser April 2nd, 2013 at 9:08 pm         Reply

    Richard, you are wonderful! Thank you for everything that you bring to Ray’s ~ we are all lucky to have you! (and yeah, all of those delicious wines, too!)

  3. Anonymous June 3rd, 2017 at 7:01 pm         Reply

    Richard Kelsey… my dear long lost friend… master of wines- more like master of my heart! I yearn for your love. In another life baby.

  4. Cheri Brandwein June 12th, 2017 at 10:48 am         Reply

    Is Richard Kelsey still the wine director here?

    • RoseJean Weller July 21st, 2017 at 2:22 pm         Reply

      Our current wine director is Chip Croteau. He joined us last summer.

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