Beach Reading: The Road to Burgundy, by Ray Walker

What’s your dream job?

You know, the one you think you’d love to try given time, and money, and the right location, and all those pesky considerations that responsible adults take into account when making decisions? If you could live anywhere in the world, with a respectable salary (enough to live comfortably but not ostentatiously), but you had to work, what would that job be?

Maybe you have two dream jobs. Or the job you have would be your dream job if there were just a couple of alterations (hi, teachers out there!). Maybe you find it hard to pin down because you think that new-car smell would fade pretty darn fast for any kind of job.

photo (96)Ray Walker is the guy who figured out what his dream job was and turned it into his day job — with a supportive family, an unbeatable work ethic, and an insane amount of luck.

The Road to Burgundy* is Mr. Walker’s memoir, a light, fast, straightforward read that chronicles his often-bumpy transition from finance work in San Francisco to making wine in Burgundy with grapes from some of the most storied vines in the world.

It’s the perfect beach read — engaging, but not stress-inducing — especially for anyone who likes reading about France (the food!) or wine. Mr. Walker’s emphasis on terroir — the place-character of a wine, if you will, is quite interesting. I do wish the memoir had gone into more detail about the old-fashioned winemaking techniques that he champions and that, apparently, have resulted in excellent wines, but ultimately, the book achieves its purpose, which is to show that once in a while that dream job is within reach.

*I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

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16 thoughts on “Beach Reading: The Road to Burgundy, by Ray Walker

  1. I loved this one, though perhaps that is because I lived in Burgundy for a semester in college. I particularly liked his emphasis on what makes Burgundian wines special (i.e. the terroir and no the grapes). But mostly it made me homesick for France.

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  3. OK, that’s it. Being one who is lucky enough that her work doesn’t feel like work (at least most of the time), AND is lucky enough to live at the beach year round, I am going to RUN out to grab this book. I have re-read my Peter Mayle so many times that I’m ready for this one. Thanks!

  4. Hmmm, I think I’d like to be a published novelist who makes enough money to live anywhere (not rich but just can live where I want). Then I would like a house on the ocean, maybe in Ireland.

  5. Sounds like a great read – having just obtained a dream job this past week, I feel very grateful to be living my life right now. It doesn’t often lead to much money, but I’ve gotten used to that 🙂 I love wine and France, so I’ll have to give this book a go!

  6. A memoir about someone living out their dream job? Yes, please! Unfortunately for me, I have two very different ones. I have to figure out how to combine them somehow. I feel confident that I will figure it out somehow. 🙂

      • I was a little afraid you were going to ask that. One is obvious- I would love to own a second-hand book store (not new, used!). But I also think it would be pretty cool to live on a farm and have animals and a big garden. I’m a little concerned that I won’t have time for both. I guess I will just wait and see. Maybe the older I get, the less I will want to be a farmer. 🙂

      • Both of those are wonderful (and some of my dream jobs are bookstore owner, vegetable farmer, apple-grower). Maybe a farmstand/bookstand is a place to start!

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