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Merrill Lynch Adviser, Seduced by Burgundy, Concocts Grand Cru

Ray Walker was happily employed as a financial adviser at Merrill Lynch & Co. in San Francisco until a gulp of wine coerced him into leaving for France to buy $140,000 worth of grapes with a dream to rival powerhouse Burgundy domaines such as Romanee-Conti and Corton-Andre.

“My wife thought I was drunk,” the 29-year-old Walker says in the cool of his wine-making cavern beneath the celebrated slopes of the Cote d’Or town Nuits-Saint-Georges.