Raymond Chan was a highly respected wine advisor in the New Zealand wine scene with nearly four decades of wine experience, including judging, retailing and writing. He lived in Wellington, New Zealand with his partner Sue Davies, a wine distributor, who has over two and a half decades of wine industry experience. He has a son Oliver, who studied at Victoria University, graduating with a Masters degree in Landscape Architecture and is now working in Christchurch.
Born and educated in Dunedin, and entering the hospitality industry with family members owning and operating the famous Chan’s Garden Restaurant for ten years, Raymond joined the liquor trade in 1989 as a wine advisor for Wilson Neill in Wellington. Based in the capital city, Raymond worked with Liquorland, O’Reilly’s Wines & Spirits, Glengarry Hancocks and became a shareholder at Regional Wines & Spirits until 2010 when he established Raymond Chan Wine Reviews.
Since 1988, Raymond had been involved in all of New Zealand’s major wine judging competitions, including the Air New Zealand Wine Awards, Royal Easter Show Wine Awards, Bragato Wine Awards, Liquorland ‘Top 100′, the New Zealand International Wine Show, the International Chardonnay Challenge and other regional shows as a senior judge and panel leader. He was also a multi New Zealand and Australasian Wine Options champion, having participated in these competitions since the mid-1980s.
Fascination in all aspects of wine had taken Raymond to practical winemaking with vintage experience at Benfield & Delamare and Te Mata Estate. Wine and food judging for the Corbans Wine & Food Challenges plus several terms as Wine Master at the Beefsteak and Burgundy Club of Tinakori had given valuable experience in cuisine matching. Later activities included the total logistics role in event management as Wine Director for the 2001 and 2004 Pinot Noir conference industry showcases and consultant for the Pinot Noir 2007 event.
In early 2009, Raymond had a cancerous tumour surgically removed from his left parotid (saliva) gland. Subsequent treatment involved radio and chemotherapy, which thankfully did not take away his ability to taste. At the start of 2015, the cancer re-occurred, and he underwent further treatments which included the drug Pembrolizumab (also known as Keytruda). The cancer had been held. Appreciative of the outcomes, the experiences had given him a strong outlook and desire to pass on his knowledge and experience of wines.
Raymond believed in the importance of communication and education as the basis for healthy, moderate and informed consumption of wine and indeed all alcoholic beverages. With his close association and understanding of the wine industry and the wine drinker, Raymond would be able to bring them closer through Raymond Chan Wine Reviews, enhancing the enjoyment of wine, food and life in general.
Raymond was awarded the Sir George Fistonich medal for his services to New Zealand wine in 2017.
Raymond Chan was inducted posthumously into New Zealand Wine Hall of Fame by the Royal Easter Wine Show on the 9th March 2019. This was awarded for a lifetime of Championing wine through wine judging, writing and mentoring aspiring wine judges.
Raymond lost his battle to cancer in February 2019, he will be forever in our memories.