Yesterday we attended the life celebration of Raymond Chan. With warm sunshine and a fresh breeze, hundreds of New Zealand’s distinguished wine community gathered beneath the dappled shade of oak trees at Ata Rangi to farewell a very special man.
If you are connected to the wine industry in any shape or form, you will know Raymond’s professional reputation as a professional wine reviewer and wine judge. He has hosted a plethora of wine tasting events over the years and scrutinised countless bottles from New Zealand and beyond. His name is synonymous with integrity, his wine reviews being ground-breaking in our industry for a meticulous attention to detail, both in technical winemaking and the detail of the tastings notes themselves. He always was interested in the people behind the wines and told their stories and histories. His archive of tasting notes on his website is of tremendous use to winemakers and wine drinkers alike.
In October 2017 he was awarded the Sir George Fistonich Medal, perhaps the highest wine honour in the land - awarded once a year to one individual for outstanding contribution to the New Zealand wine industry.
Personally, he will be remembered by his family and beyond for his generosity, compassion, hardworking-ethic, quirky sense of humour, his gift for ‘Asian Dad Jokes’ and puns, along with his questionable taste of Sci Fi (especially classic Star Trek). We too will remember Raymond as a true treasure of the wine world, both here in Wellington and across New Zealand. His relentless positivity, generosity, and quirky wit will stretch far beyond his short years with us.
Back at Ata Rangi it was very touching to hear Raymond’s own words spoken by his brother Norman, and heart felt tributes by his life partner Sue Davies, his son Olly, and others close to him. Oak Trees around the winery were adorned with personal anecdotes from across the country, alongside dozens of photographs of Raymond and friends. Hundreds of bottles of fine wine were opened and shared through the afternoon with many a toast in his honour.
Raymond, we will be among many that will miss you greatly. Taste in Peace.