Self-taught in many ways and tutored by some of the world’s best Winemakers in others, Ray Sandidge is considered one of the top Winemakers in the Pacific Northwest. 30+ years of internationally and nationally acclaimed results back up this humble fact. It is obvious Ray loves his work. He respects the marriage between vineyard and the art of winemaking.
The Right Stuff
Ray has produced wines rated 90 pts. or higher on more than 50 occasions in the Wine Spectator and Wine Enthusiast magazines not to mention countless Best of Show, Best of Class, Double Gold, Gold, Silver and Bronze medals in competitions such as the San Francisco International Wine Competition, Jerry D. Mead International Wine Competition, and the Seattle Wine Awards.
The highest score to date is 97 points awarded the 1989 Trockenbeerenauslese Riesling wine made for the German winery Georg Breuer. The Right Stuff includes great grapes, skilled winemaking and listening to you the consumer. This combination has worked for more than a quarter century. Nurture it.
Starting at Pindar Vineyards in 1985 on Long Island, Ray co-authored two wines which were ultimately selected to be served at President George Bush’s January 1989 inaugural ball. During the summer of 1987 Ray was recruited by Weingut Georg Breuer. Weingut Georg Breuer was founded in 1880 and is considered one of Germany’s finest winery estates. Germany is a country with approximately 12,000 wineries. Within three years, the wines Ray produced for Georg Breuer placed this winery on that countries TOP 50 list. A feat never before achieved by this respected estate.
Ray returned to Washington State in the fall of 1990 where he hooked up with Brian Carter to make the Apex and Washington Hills Cellars wines. Over the next ten years Ray was employed first by Hyatt Vineyards to make their reserve red and white wines. Later he became Kestrel Vintners sole winemaker from 1996 through 2004. Beginning in 2004, Ray assumed the Winemaker role at the fledgling Lake Chelan Winery as well as numerous other Lake Chelan Valley wineries.
December of 2015, a much awaited change occurred. Once the vintage was safely in barrel and tank, Ray parted ways with Lake Chelan Winery in order to focus on C R Sandidge winemaking and grape growing with greater intensity yet. This is an exciting chapter for Ray and Athena. The long awaited dream of crafting C R Sandidge wines in their own winemaking facility is finally coming to fruition.
While he strives not to have favorites, Ray would say that his greatest wines made to date are his 2002 C. R. Sandidge Triumph which was rated the best Bordeaux style red wine made in all of North America, South America, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa by the highly regarded New World International Wine Competition (held annually in San Diego going on 30+ years) and his 1989 Georg Breuer Berg Rottland Trockenbeerenauslese which scored an amazing 97 points in Chicago’s International Wine Competition and Wine Enthusiast magazine.