In 1983, Nancy and Ray Coursen arrived in California from Cape Cod to fulfill Ray's dream of making wine and Nancy's taste for adventure. After working harvest at Mt. Eden Winery in Saratoga, they moved to Napa Valley and became innkeepers for a bed and breakfast. Ray then spent formative time at Tonella Vineyard Management, where he gained philosophical perspective and practical knowledge working in the vineyards. Ray's nine year tenure at Whitehall Lane Winery under the tutelage of Art Finkelstein, first as a cellar worker and then as head winemaker, honed his skills in the art of blending and was the inspiration for Ray's winemaking style. The year 1986 saw the arrival of a daughter, Elyse Sarah.