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.