Elyse Winery


  • "Elyse has emerged as one of the most dependable producers of Zinfandel in California." (Steve Heimoff)
  • “This excellent winery continues to turn out a bevy of intriguing wines, including both Zinfandels and Rhone Ranger offerings.” (Robert Parker)

Basic Info

In 1983, Ray Coursen was working in the restaurant industry in Cape Cod. One day Ray casually asked his wife when she’d be ready to move to California to start making wine. “Tomorrow,” she said. The rest, as they say, is history. Ray worked for several California wineries, starting at the bottom picking grapes, digging ditches, and tending the gardens. He eventually ended up at Whitehall Lane, first working in the tasting room and the cellar before being promoted to winemaker. In 1987, Ray & Nancy started Elyse Wines with 286 cases of Zinfandel from the Morisoli Vineyard, which is still one of their primary fruit sources. Ray makes wines that you want to sit down and enjoy – juicy, rich, voluptuous wines with a little oak, but not overpowering to the point that you can’t taste the fruit. Ray loves wines that pair well with food. He says, “A meal without wine is eating; a meal with wine is dining – it’s a conversation, an event. It’s what wine is about.”

North Coast
Sub region:
Napa Valley
Year founded:
Ray Coursen, Nancy Coursen
Ray Coursen, Mike Trotta