The best way to pay tribute to Ray was with a wine that personifies his character and spirit.
Coming of age around the wine business in the Napa Valley, everyone knew the story of Silver Oak. The winery and the Duncan family were spoken about in hushed and reverent tones; to this day, I’m humbled to be only their third winemaker in nearly 50 years. Since joining the team in 2014, I’ve heard legends of Ray from his sons and long-time employees. He was a Captain in the Marine Corps during the Korean War, a visionary entrepreneur and a fun-loving grandfather with a ‘twinkle in his eye.’
David, Ray’s youngest son, and I often talked about ways we could honor such an enduring legacy. We decided the best way to pay tribute to Ray was with a wine that personifies his character and spirit. At first, this responsibility was terrifying. But I was grounded by the legends of a man who didn’t take himself too seriously. Being overly precious just wasn’t Ray’s style. I was also reminded of his love for Soda Canyon Ranch—its rugged beauty, topographic diversity and the oak grove where his granddaughter would later be married.
We’d select the best fruit from Soda Canyon Ranch in a given year. The resulting wine had to be distinct, singular and independent, but also delicious, elegant and could perform amongst the best in their class. The final blend, now known as Timeless Napa Valley, is honest and jovial with depth and character—just like Ray.
Nate Weis, Winemaker
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