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Wine writer + expert Elaine Chukan Brown speaks with Nicole Hitchcock, winemaker at J Vineyards & Winery.
Elaine speaks with Nicole about her current role as head winemaker at one of California’s leading and influential sparkling wine producers, where she oversees all aspects of winemaking. They will dive into the unique characteristics of the cool-climate fruit grown in the renowned Russian River Valley and Sonoma County, for both still and sparkling wine production.

Featured wines:
J Vineyards & Winery Cuvee 20 NV Russian River Valley Sparkling Wine
J Vineyards & Winery 2017 Russian River Valley Pinot Noir
J Vineyards & Winery 2016 Annapolis Ridge Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir

Born and raised in California, Nicole earned a degree in Viticulture and Enology and a minor in the Italian language at University of California at Davis, a combination that enabled her to work at an agriturismo in Todi, Umbria for a summer. Upon graduation, Nicole worked the 2001 harvest at Robert Mondavi Winery in Napa Valley. The following year she transitioned to a role in sales for E. & J. Gallo Winery, ending up back on the hands-on side of wine in 2004 when she traveled to Western Australia for a harvest at Houghton Winery. Nicole returned to E. & J. Gallo Winery, this time as winemaker, working alongside third-generation winemaker Gina Gallo. In 2015, Nicole earned an MBA from the Wine Business Institute at Sonoma State University, gaining an academic perspective on the business of the wine industry.

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