Martin Ray Winery


  • Featured as a 'Winery of the Year' in 2007 (Wine & Spirits Magazine)

Basic Info

MARTIN RAY is one of those mythical figures of California winegrowing. From his vineyards on top of the Santa Cruz Mountains, he produced some of the greatest Cabernet, Pinot Noir, and sparkling wine of the '30s, '40s, '50s, and '60s. In an era when wines were cheap and sweet, Ray fashioned his wines after the great French vintages of the Cote d'Or and the first growth of Bordeaux. Using only mountain-sourced fruit and 100% French oak barrels, Martin Ray’s wines were the most expensive California wines of their time ($13.00 a bottle in the late '50s! This was more than Bordeaux first-growths like Lafite), and also some of the most sought-after. The man himself lived a life to match his legendary wines. He frequently entertained the likes of John Steinbeck and Charlie Chaplin, and counted President Herbert Hoover among his earliest and most fervent customers. And the list of winemakers that trained under him is equally impressive: David Bruce, Jack Davies (Schramsberg), and Warren Winiarski (Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars) to name a few. Martin Ray, now long gone, still gives his name to wines made with the same level of quality and care.

Year founded:
Coutney Benham
Bill Batchelor