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The Road to Burgundy: The Unlikely Story of an American Making Wine and a New Life in France

The Road to Burgundy: The Unlikely Story of an American Making Wine and a New Life in France

Scritto da Ray Walker

Narrato da Sean Crisden


The Road to Burgundy: The Unlikely Story of an American Making Wine and a New Life in France

Scritto da Ray Walker

Narrato da Sean Crisden

valutazioni:
4/5 (12 valutazioni)
Lunghezza:
7 ore
Editore:
Pubblicato:
Jul 11, 2013
ISBN:
9781452681870
Formato:
Audiolibro

Descrizione

Ray Walker had a secure career in finance until a wine-tasting vacation ignited a passion that he couldn't stifle. Ray neglected his work, spending hours poring over ancient French wine-making texts, learning the techniques and the language, and daydreaming about vineyards. After Ray experienced his first taste of wine from Burgundy, he could wait no longer. He quit his job and went to France to start a winery-with little money, a limited command of French, and virtually no wine-making experience.

Fueled by determination and joie de vivre, he immersed himself in the extraordinary history of Burgundy's vineyards and began honing his skills. Ray became a pioneer in his use of ancient techniques in modern times and founded Maison Ilan. In 2009, Ray became the first non-French winemaker to purchase grapes and produce a wine from Le Chambertin, long considered to be one of the most revered and singular vineyards in the world.

Along with his struggle to capture his wine's distinct terroir, Ray shares enthralling stories of late-night tastings, flying down the Route National on a vintage Peugeot bicycle with no brakes, and his journey to secure both the trust of his insular Burgundian neighbors and the region's most coveted grapes. Capturing the sunlight, the smell of the damp soil, and the taste of superlative wine, The Road to Burgundy is a glorious celebration of finding one's true path in life, and taking a chance-whatever the odds.
Editore:
Pubblicato:
Jul 11, 2013
ISBN:
9781452681870
Formato:
Audiolibro


Informazioni sull'autore

Ray Walker lives with his wife, Christian, and their two daughters, Isabella Ilan and Siena Jesline, in Burgundy, France.

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Recensioni dei lettori

  • (3/5)
    You will probably think this man is a little nuts! But he turned a love of wine into a new life. The story is amazing, although a bit wordy. (More than I really wanted to know about the whole industry.) However, if you have an avid interest in wine, or if you admire a person with a spirit of adventure, this is your book.
  • (5/5)
    This was a charming book to read! I loved the focus of the author on his dream, the bumps along the way and the happy ending. It was a heart warming story and I thought it was a wonderful story to tell. It was a little technical in some spots when referring to the wines, but I was able to understand where the author was going with the information. The number of coincidences and the amount of synchronicity was so amazing to read, I found myself cheering the family on totally involved in the dream and happy for them at the end of the book. Good job!
  • (4/5)
    3.75 stars. A young American becomes obsessed with wine, then Burgundy wine, and reinvents himself and his life as he lucks out time and time again. Is he a hard worker? Absolutely, and he takes a lot of chances to get things to work out just the way he'd like them. It's reminiscent of other "I had a dream..." stories, but Ray is charming and never talks down to the reader when he's explaining how things work and why he feels the way that he does about things. It's a pleasant read with a happy ending, and I'm glad that Ray decided to share his story.
  • (5/5)
    Ray Walker adds a delightful work to the expat genre. He presents his making wine in France story in a very entertaining read.
  • (4/5)
    In The Road to Burgundy: The Unlikely Story of an American Making Wine and a New Life in France, Ray Walker tells the story of how he chucked a successful career in finance, packed his family over to France, and started making wine.I am a sucker for any American ex-pat in Europe memoir. This one was particularly interesting because it involves starting a winery, a pipe dream every yuppy indulges in now and again. The Road to Burgundy hit all my armchair traveler fantasies.
  • (3/5)
    Even if you're not a wine drinker and don't know the first thing about Burgundy or its wines, you'll enjoy this inspirational story of a man who not just followed his dream but grabbed it by the neck and wrung the reward of a fabulous life out of it. An unlikely dream it certainly seemed to everyone but him, coming as he did from the world of high finance in California and not even being a wine drinker to begin with. Once he'd discovered it and his particular passion for the red wines of Burgundy however, there was no stopping him. No money, no experience, no training, no knowledge of France or its language, and a pregnant wife were just some of the obstacles he faced but ultimately overcame. If you like inspirational stories and boy with everything going against him makes good tales, this is one of the better ones I've read and a good example of how determination, persistence and never ever giving up can reap rewards in the long run.
  • (3/5)
    Walker is a Californian who grew up in the wine country but was no fan, thinking it a snob's drink. But once discovering wines from Burgundy, he had an epiphany and became obsessed, ultimately moving his family there to make wine. I can't imagine anyone less prepared to take this on, not only not speaking French but also not knowing how to make wine. It seems the only thing he had going for him was a pleasant personality and a talent for making friends willing to help. This included a "deus ex machina" in the form of a virtual stranger who offered him large sums of money with no strings attached. This was a bit tough to swallow. The descriptions of the wineries in Burgundy and the people there are very well done and I enjoyed that part.
  • (4/5)
    This book is as much about a personal journey as it is making wine. Ray Walker really shows what it takes to make a dream come true. Keep in mind, his dream never would have come true if not for the most supportive and loving spouse! I enjoyed this book very much. It is easy to read and I enjoy the French sprinkled throughout. I would recmmend this book to anyone who is in the mood to relax and enjoy a good book and a glass of wine!This may have been corrected but there is a subject/verb out of agreement on page 31.
  • (3/5)
    Ray Walker's journey into wine making is a story of sacrifice, chance and, ultimately, gratification. I started out liking this book, Ray does what many disgruntled people have only ever dreamed of, packing everything up and moving to France to make wine. Along the way, there were hardships and disappointments (it wouldn't be much of a story if there weren't) but he ended up doing what he loved and becoming a respected wine maker. At times, however, the his story seemed like a movie, or perhaps he had a movie of his book in mind all along. Meetings were serendipitous, coming at just the right moment- the kindly sommelier, meeting a legendary wine maker, and there is even a villian who must be overcome. I found Ray's descriptions of different aspects of wine and wine making confusingly technical, with details that are not always explained. While fascinating, there were parts I just skimmed over. By the end of the book, I appreciated all that Ray had accomplished and my own fantasies about making wine in a small town in the south of France were somewhat mollified.
  • (1/5)
    Too bad this book is based on a total fraud... One Google search reveals that Ray Walker is probably not someone you want to buy wine from let alone read his book. Will say it is more interesting now because I was on his side until I new the facts now alot of things in this fiction piece clearly are fiction....
  • (4/5)
    This is a book for those of us who love wine but feel embarrassed in front of a sommelier. Ray Walker has done what we all fantasize about doing. He took the risks that are necessary to realize a dream and allows us to come along for the ride. We see his journey from a regular guy who loved the idea of loving wine to a producer of wines from some of the best vineyards in the world. We experience his remarkably quick journey from someone who knew nothing about wine to an intern at a small urban winery in San Francisco to a ‘Wine Shepherd’ of the most storied and traditional territory in France. Along the way, he takes regular jabs at the wine snobs we all despise and teaches us enough to make wine snobs of us. He gives us a firsthand look at the work, passion, and history that goes into a truly great bottle of wine without the distraction of all of the modern technological advances. He shows us a more patient view of the French that offers a deeper and fuller perspective of a culture that appreciates family and relationship. I read this book while flying over the ocean which is the only thing that stopped me from running down to my makeshift under-the-stairs cellar to open that bottle of Volnay I have been saving for a special occasion. The book skims over some of the details of how the risks he took impacted his family while pursuing this quest, leaving you wanting to know more. The details about the winemaking and descriptions of the wines more than make up for it.Read this book with a robust glass of red, but keep the bottle nearby because you won’t want to stop after one glass.
  • (3/5)
    Not a terrible book, but I do wish that, if people are going to use foreign phrases as a major part of their text, they would hire someone who actually SPEAKS that language to edit their work before it goes to a publisher. And that college graduates would learn the difference between "lie" and "lay."That being said, this is a fairly interesting account of one man's journey from non-wine-drinker to wine maker. Ray Walker was a finance guy in California until he tasted some Burgundy wines and got the insatiable urge to make some of his own. Despite the fact that he's married and has a baby, he up and moves to France [without his family, no less] -- not speaking a word of French, which will make negotiating for grapes, and space to make his wine, difficult, to say the least. The book details his attempts to buy the fruit and find a suitable place to live; he's incredibly lucky to find people who are willing to deal with a stereotypical American who hasn't bothered to learn the basics about his new home, much less the language. And he apparently makes some pretty fabulous wine, if he himself is to be believed about the reviews his first and second batches get from real oenophiles; Eric Asimov of The New York Times says, "The wines are elegant, fresh, structured and graceful — astoundingly so, given they were made by a novice."But he really does need an editor.
  • (3/5)
    Who wouldn’t want to be Ray Walker: successful finance career which he is able to give up to pursue his dream of becoming a wine maker; loving and supportive wife and family; incredible good luck; always at the right place at the right time; an indefatigable spirit in pursuit of his life goal; and from the sound of it, a pretty decent guy (even if not the best writer). A very pleasant, “good for him” kind of read – enjoy it with your favorite red.Thanks to Library Thing Early Reviewers for the chance to read and review this book.
  • (4/5)
    Suppose that you have decided to become a winemaker. You have no formal education or training in viticulture. You have no practical experience working at a winery and you have never before tried to produce your own wines; in fact, you only began to drink wine just a few years ago. Further, you have virtually no financial resources to make your dream happen and pursuing this goal would require you to quit your job in the financial services industry, putting severe economic constraints on your young family. On top of everything, you also decide that you must move from California to the Burgundy region of France which will require you to compete against seasoned growers and négociants, most of whom have several centuries of a head start on you. And, oh by the way, you have no place to live there or any production equipment, you are not legally licensed to conduct this business, and you do not even speak French! So, here are two questions: (i) Are you crazy?, and (ii) Is there really any chance that you could possibly succeed? For Ray Walker, who tells this most improbable tale in The Road to Burgundy, the answers are “yes” and, surprisingly, “yes”. Certainly, the whole venture is nothing short of crazy and it is a dream that easily could have been derailed for any of a hundred different reasons. Amazingly, though, the dream does come true and Walker becomes the first non-Frenchman to be able to purchase grapes and produce wine from Le Chambertin, one of the region’s great grand cru vineyards. For that reason alone, this is a story worth telling and, on balance, Walker does a nice job chronicling his journey in a joyful and engaging manner. I particularly enjoyed learning the details and intricacies of Walker’s entire production process, from harvesting the grapes off the vines to the fermentation stage to the barreling and eventual bottling of the wine.However, the narrative also suffers from several shortcomings that are quite distracting. Chief among these flaws are the author’s continual, fawning references to the wife and small daughter that he more or less leaves behind in the United States to realize his vision. Indeed, these passages read as a strained combination of expressions of gratitude and apology that become cloying to the reader rather quickly and make the book longer than it needs to be. Further, there are several threads in the story that remain unexplained (e.g., the curious role played by his “angel” investor, the fact that the premium grapes he acquires likely were only available because of the global financial crisis) or are dropped without resolution (e.g., Walker’s contentious relationship with his “arch rival” Xavier). Also, the whole account comes off as slightly naïve; there are none of the critical insights from a sharp-eyed ex-pat along the lines of what one would get from, say, Tim Parks or Paul Theroux. Still, I thought The Road to Burgundy was a fascinating tale of one man’s perseverance, hard work, and, above all else, absurd amount of good luck.
  • (5/5)
    Loved this book. It made me want to visit France and taste their wines. I love how it is a true story and not just a fiction story of someone's dream. He showed such determination in going for something you believe in.
  • (3/5)
    Ray Walker didn’t even like wine until he took a sip of a startlingly amazing wine in Italy. He was hooked. He single-mindedly began a quest to learn everything he could about wine. And, against the advice of everyone who knew anything about wine, he decided, after reading books about wines and tasting wines and serving a short apprenticeship to a winemaker, to throw his family’s life savings into an attempt to make his own wine. In France. Though he’d never made wine before. And though he is an American. And though he and his wife had just started their family in the San Francisco Bay area. And though he knew almost no one in France. And though he spoke very little French.A fairy tale of a story. It will inspire you, I think, to go after your dreams, even when you don’t have all the credentials others might expect of you. Caution: it’s not a beautifully written story; Walker’s confidence extends past winemaking-without-experience into writing-a-book-without-experience (and even into taking-a-photograph-for-the-cover-of-your-book-without-experience). But it’s Walker’s enthusiasm and energy and amazing American can-do-it spirit that carry you through the story.