R oy grew up in Pittsburgh during the time when Roberto Clemente was God in that town. On the dinner table at home often stood a half-gallon of Almaden Burgundy, but he knew from busing tables at the restaurant up the road that there were other wines from cultures entirely different from his own.
In college he experimented with that gateway drug, Mosel Riesling. During a year abroad, he hitched across France to Madrid and drank cheap co-op wine from bottles with plastic caps (the Almaden, it must be said, was better).
He fished commercially in Alaska, a country barren of the grape—which made his landing in California something of a shock. His family had moved to Berkeley, where Roy came to earn a living as a carpenter while exploring all manner of wine routes with his father.
He was in grad school in NYC making ends meet by working in one of the city’s first wine bars when the ’82 futures broke (a case of Pichon-Lalande cost $200!). Later, in our nation’s capital, he married his best friend from college, took a job at MacArthur Wines, and wrote. That was when Michel-Schlumberger tapped him on the shoulder.
Roy still writes (back labels and profile pages, among other things). He is the author of the memoir To Burgundy and Back Again (Kirkus review here). In December 2016 he was profiled here by a French journalist reporting on the generational transition at Domaine Joseph Voillot. Years before, he was profiled here as an up and coming importer in Wine Review Online.