Our Story

The name Martin Ray resonates deeply with those well-versed in the history of California wine. Winemaker Martin Ray was a pioneer in California winemaking by crafting 100 percent varietal wines from the region and made under his namesake label from 1943 through 1972. Nearly 20 years later Courtney Benham made an amazing discovery when he stumbled upon 1,500 cases of Martin Ray wine in a San Jose warehouse. Resonating with the brand story and recognizing his good fortune, Courtney purchased the brand, and since 1990 he has been dedicated to the production of exceptional artisanal wines worthy of the Martin Ray name. Since 2003, Martin Ray Vineyards & Winery has made its home in the heart of the Russian River Valley at one of the oldest continually working wineries in California. The winery and our 12 acres of Estate Pinot Noir vineyard are located just beyond the eastern border of the Russian River’s coolest, foggiest sub-AVA, the Green Valley.

Today, Courtney and Winemakers Bill Batchelor and Lindsey Haughton are dedicated to Ray’s ideology of making “wines of place”, by procuring grapes and making wine from several of California’s most renowned AVA’s. In addition to the Russian River Valley, our unique portfolio wines offers visitors an amazing tasting experience that can take them to exceptional appellations, such as the Santa Cruz Mountains, Napa Valley, Dry Creek Valley, and Sonoma Coast AVAs without leaving the winery. “As a winemaker at Martin Ray the best part of our job is to be able work with fruit from outside the Russian River Valley, and to cherry pick what we feel are the best offerings from Santa Cruz and Napa Valley”, says winemaker Bill Batchelor.

Courtney Benham, Lindsey Haughton, and Bill Batchelor