Approaching Raymond Vineyards, I felt as if I was following a white rabbit. I walked down a path, past the bushes, and suddenly there were oversized chairs on a perfectly manicured lawn with floating picture frames.
It was like stepping into a cartoon.
Raymond is not at all what I expected. It’s gaudy, has multiple rooms, and was not pretentious.
It is a fun house version of a winery.
And it is magnificent!
I first heard about Raymond when a few culinary school students were chatting about the Red Room. Unfortunately it was closed the day I went. But I’ve heard, through the grapevine, playboy centerfolds are somehow involved.
Granted, this may be a conclusion resulted in the game of telephone.
However, this wouldn’t be the first time I have heard of a drinking establishment with centerfolds around.
Lots of feathered hair.
And lots of bush.
The bar even has a questionable fun-size water bed in the back corner covered with a purple shag carpet.
It’s retro. Taboo. And fun.
Anyways, back to Raymond Vineyards.
Even though the Red Room was closed, there was still a lot to see.
We started in the Gold Room. Lots of white wine which inevitably meant lots of Chardonnay.
When our host poured the wine, I was doubtful. There were at least three different Chardonnays, so I was apprehensive about the tasting menu.
I should have known better.
If a winery has multiple Chardonnays, it means they know what they’re doing. Each one was good.
I genuinely enjoyed them. In fact, I preferred them over their reds!
Exclamatory sentence indeed.
And it’s not because their red wines aren’t good, it’s because their Chardonnay is just that good.
The Gold Room had a tilted ceiling (I know there’s a better word for it) and hands holding bottles of wine behind the bar.
It all added to the cartoony Alice in Wonderland feel.
One of their labels is dedicated to French Bulldogs in Victorian era clothing. I believe this is called their Marie Antoinette.
Personally, dogs dressed up as people creep me out. Whenever I see a youtube video of a dog on their hind legs and in a dress, I’m instantly bothered.
This may stem from the book Animal Farm. I haven’t read it since I was in the 10th grade. But the ending was so well described, that I honestly have visual memories of the book.
If you haven’t read it, it ends with farm animals walking on their hind legs. (Spoiler alert!) I can’t remember if monocles are involved, but that’s how I imagine it.
With that said, their Victorian era doggo line is creative and actually kinda cute.
After the Gold Room, we entered the hall of senses. I may have made that up, because I can’t remember what the area is called.
The hallway was like Willie Wonka’s chocolate factory. I know I’m not keeping up with my metaphors and similes in this post, but there is so much going on at Raymond, it’s hard to pick one reference point.
The hall had different fabrics on spindles (I guess that’s what you would call it), and little fragrance bottles so you can smell different aspects of wine like grapefruit and roses.
There was even one for currents.
Whenever my winemaker boyfriend uses currents in his tasting notes, my first thought is always “what the hell is a current?” But whenever I ask him,
I immediately lose interest in the question and daze off during his answer.
So I finally had the opportunity to find out what currents smell like thanks to the little Willie Wonka-esque bottles.
When I pressed the 1920s perfume-like handle to get a whiff, I smelled nothing.
I tried twice.
So I still have no idea what a F**king current is or what it smells like.
And I refuse to ask Google. I simply just don’t care enough.
The next tasting room we went into involved walking through a hallway with red-lighting and metal walls.
I’ve never done coke before. The D.A.R.E program effectively worked on me by scaring me from all major drugs for my entire life.
I will never know the enjoyment of cocaine.
However, walking through this hallway towards the purple-lit tasting room was my impression of what is was like to do coke in the disco era.
If this is nothing like coke and you’re frustrated with me, please refer those frustrations towards D.A.R.E.
The room was crowded, so we opted not to taste. But it was a tank room with club lighting, large crystal-like chandeliers, and mannequins hanging upside down on a trapeze.
Once we left studio 54, we then walked around the property. We saw goats who paid no attention to me and hurt my feelings a little.
There were also chickens that I could care less if they paid attention to me, because I also have a fear of birds.
I don’t care to explain that fear, but it involves me at four-years old, a lawn chair, and a marching duck.
The property even had a five-star kennel with portraits of French Bulldogs in Victorian clothing and wine barrel-chic doggo beds.
Raymond Vineyards inhibits boredom with sensory stimulation. At one point, I forgot we were there for wine tasting.
We ended our Raymond journey at their Stellar Cellar Sale. We bought bottles of wine for $5. We went home with an entire case.
And personally, I enjoyed their Cab as my boyfriend and I sat on our couch and Netflix surfed.
I’ve covered a lot in this post, so here is a recap of all the childhood references, and memories Raymond brought me back to –
- Kozy Kar Bar
- Alice in Wonderland
- Willie Wonka’s Chocolate Factory
- Studio 54
- My fear of animals on their hind legs
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