Nicole discovered her passion for food and wine working in restaurants. “I was enamored by all parts of the industry and process — the journey from vine to glass, the varying tastes and the cultural aspects,” Nicole said. Her path was set on a college visit to the University of California at Davis where she discovered their winegrowing and winemaking programs.
After graduating, Nicole worked her first harvest in 2001 before she switched gears to a role in sales supporting retailers and restaurants. Soon, winemaking beckoned. She joined E. & J. Gallo Winery as a winemaker in 2004. She now serves as head winemaker for J Vineyards and Winery, overseeing all aspects of winemaking, from vineyard to bottle.
As a wife and mother of two, Nicole balances her successful winemaking career with raising her daughters. “Work-life balance is really important,” she said. “What do I want my legacy to be with my kids? I want them to know that I have a great work ethic. I also want them to know that I’m there fully, as a mother to them.”
Nicole enjoys gardening, traveling, cooking, yoga and learning as much as she can about wine.