Ray Kaufman’s winemaking career began on various Sonoma county bottling lines in the late 1970’s. From there he worked at Kenwood Vineyards in the cellar for about 5 years. Ray also picked-up some Pinot Noir knowledge, by working a couple of harvests at Bouchaine Vineyards. In 1987 Ray began working as co winemaker for Laurel Glen Vineyards. Ray remained in this small winery on top of Sonoma Mountain, making well known and critically acclaimed Cabernet Sauvignon until Laurel Glen was sold in 2011. After the sale of the Laurel Glen name and Sonoma Mountain estate, Ray continued on with the Tierra Divina side of the business making wines from Lodi and Argentina.
When Ray first started, the wine world was a different place. He watched and learned as stainless steel tanks began replacing redwood tanks and concrete fermenters. He saw refrigeration become common place, and work in the vineyards and the wineries become more specific. He saw this willingness to change lead California to produce unique world class wines. Similarly, Ray developed as a winemaker first by following traditional procedures, then by following the more technical approach suggested by the University of Davis. Ultimately, Ray’s wine making style utilizes traditional, natural methods supported by technical knowledge.
Ray is uniquely familiar with the difference between working with multiple vineyards to make one wine and using a single vineyard. In Argentina, the single vineyard concept is still new. Ray knows by experience that it requires more attention to meld a single vineyard with the style of wine you wish to make. Our focus is to make wine from a specific site.
Before Ray’s first visit, he knew very little about Argentina. Once he arrived, he found great joy in the people, the culture, the food, and of course--the malbec. The wine industry reminded him of California when he first started out. At that time, there was an influx of new people and new ideas. Change for the better was in the air, grounded by an appreciation and respect for tradition. It was that same energy and excitement that drew Ray to Argentina. In the 14 years he has been part of the Argentine wine experience, the change has been unbelievable. However, there is a long way to go before Argentine wine reaches its full potential. Ray and all of us at Adelante look forward to adding our small contribution to this evolution.