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Happy Retirement to Neighborhood Icon

Hello Leschi!

This month, Leschi Market dedicates the wine column to longtime Leschi resident and Leschi Market Wine Steward, Ed Raftis. Have you ever taken the time to read the colorful descriptors gracing our shelves? That would be Ed’s handiwork! Ed was also a dedicated contributor to the Leschi News for years as well. Many of you have probably enjoyed his prose in some form or another. Mr. Raftis has retired and moved closer to his family in California. Here are some thoughts and words to and about Ed, from coworkers and colleagues from over the years.

*If YOU would like to send Ed a note, we encourage you to do so! Please email: and we’ll make sure he gets each and every one!

~Sincerely, Steve, Ken & the entire Leschi Market Wine Team

“I don’t remember who we were tasting with, but it was a WA producer and Ed’s brutal honesty was so amazingly classic. He makes no bones about bad labels and bad wine!”

~Ben R., Leschi Market

“Ed Raftis: Leschi’s Diehard Mariners Fan! In an age when the local baseball team seems to be perpetually rebuilding and with a record that reflects that, it’s refreshing to see that there are people still willing to commit some of their “pastime” to following the Mariners. It’s always been fun to hear about his most recent trip to spring training camp and his take on the “rebuilding lineup”, a topic about which I have no clue. Hopefully Ed you’ll be able to get down to Arizona this Spring.”

~John G., Wine Sales

“I can always count on Ed for an unfiltered (yet fair) opinion on my wines. I would make a point of bringing an ‘Ed’ wine to the panel tasting appointments. While he would not like my geeky pet nats, he’d love my polished Napa Cabs. A man of refined tastes. Ed also kept me on my toes asking for updated write ups and press for my wines on the shelves. Ed understands the business and the customer base, building Leschi’s reputation as a destination for great wines over the years. I will miss you at the tasting panel, Ed! Raising a glass to you.”

~Joelle H.,Wine Sales

“Some years ago, Ed took me on a trip to Walla Walla. We went to several wineries on the way there, as well as on the way back. Some of the more notable ones to me were Spring Valley Vineyards, Cote Bonneville, Va Piano and Bergevin Lane. That trip with Ed really taught me how to appreciate good wine.”

~Yousef S., Leschi Market

“It was a great experience to work with Ed and learn the wine aisle from his perspective. Once he learned that we had both been Army Officers, both worked in telecommunications, and both loved wine—he was as generous as could be. A fine tasting partner with a keen eye for a good wine label.”

~Thom D., Leschi Market

“From getting terribly lost trying to find a trade tasting in Tanglewood (at a time without GPS), to tasting anything and everything poured for him, including a surprise olive oil, which led to the one of two times I witnessed him spit, to his overall “love affair” with wine, Ed has always been dedicated to doing the very best he could to make the Leschi Market Wine Department what it is today. We will miss his refined and cultured persona as he relaxes in sunny California.”

~John C., Leschi Market

“I will miss Ed and it’s not for his wine knowledge; it’s for his support and encouragement of the Leschi News. I was grateful to Ed for giving me his views of his trip to Cuba which we ran in two-parts some years back. We compared notes on retirement as we both had “jobs” in our respective retirements…Ed with his wine lore as a treasured member of what I call the wine gang at Leschi Market and me with the continuation of the Leschi News after Art Mink’s retirement. I usually ran into Ed on his way in or out of the Market and he always commented on something he had read in the Leschi News. But the last time I saw him, it was in an unexpected place: the courthouse where we were two of a large number of folks waiting to see if we would be selected for a jury. We tried to stay busy while we waited and as it turned out, we were both selected for the same jury and told to come back the next day. Ever the gentleman, Ed shared his Uber ride and dropped me off on the way back to his condo. He and his Uber picked me up the next morning and we checked in only to learn in a short time that the parties had met the afternoon before and resolved their differences; there would be no trial. Once again, Ed offered an Uber ride home and we both felt released from involuntary bondage! Enjoy your second retirement, Ed, and although we will miss you, there is something to be said for being close to family!”

~Diane Snell

“I just want to say ‘Thank You.’ Thank you for the time and creation of accurate and detailed shelf talkers—they are local lore. Thank you for assembling weekly and monthly email blasts to keep the neighborhood informed of all things wine. Thank you for your honest and unfiltered opinions on wine and wine labels—both good and not so good. Thank you for teaching me how great that first chilled wine of the day can be. And like a cool desert wind, thank you for taking a chance one time early on, on a wine I thought could sell well. (It did!) Ed’s contributions to the wine department over the years are immeasurable. I wish you all good things in your second retirement. Thank you Ed!”

~Ken B., Leschi Market

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