At Raymond Vineyards, You Will Find Jackson 5 Videos, Lots of Crystal, and a Stuffed Leopard
Some significant cosmetic changes have taken place recently at Raymond Vineyards in St. Helena, with the decades-old winery now under the ownership of Burgundy-based Boisset Family Estates. The Guardian includes the tasting room in a roundup of notable wine country stops, and we were most intrigued by the description of the "delightfully eccentric" Jean-Charles Boisset who has transformed the grounds outside the winery into a kooky "Theater of Nature" featuring a bunch of suspended picture frames and such. He says things like, "I love personally the word[s] sexy and voluptuous," and he's transformed the winery's tasting rooms into gaudy spaces where that fictional Russian billionaire from those DirecTV ads would feel right at home.
Tasting Room 1: The Crystal Cellar, "a room that has been lined with steel to give the effect of being inside a wine vat. An explosion of Baccarat crystal shimmers off its walls, vats, and giant mirrors glinting around us. Encased vintage crystal decanters are inscribed with wine descriptors in lipstick." (Also, see above the mannequin in black lacy underwear on the trapeze.)
Tasting Room 2: The private tasting lounge, available for groups. "It housed gold and white leather couches covered in fur throws, a stuffed leopard standing guard in the corner... The pièce de résistance: a giant flat-screen rimmed in gold — of course! — playing Jackson 5 music videos."
As for the wine? Eh.
Tour de Tasting Room [SFBG]