Born and raised outside of Seattle, Tracy fell in love with wine in her early 20s, while earning a degree in anthropology from the University of Washington, and working towards her masters in global health. Traveling to tasting rooms in Walla Walla, Willamette Valley, and Napa Valley, Tracy would often sneak away from her friends in search of the winemaker, so that she could ask more complex winemaking questions. In 2009, Tracy worked her first harvest at Oregon’s Torii Mor Winery, where she learned from winemaker Jacques Tardy, a native of Burgundy. During her time at Torii Mor, Tracy lived at Cristom Vineyards, where she became friends with Winemaker Steve Doerner, as she helped out the Cristom team with their nightly midnight punchdowns.
Tracy quickly fell in love with the camaraderie and collaborative spirit of winemaking, and found that she enjoyed its constant challenges, and its potential to be a part of creating something enduring and special. Eager to gain as much experience as possible, she began working both southern and northern hemisphere harvests - experiences that took her to Vasse Felix in Australia, Darby Winery in Washington State, and Felton Road and Seresin Estate in New Zealand, where she worked with noted Winemaker Clive Dougall. In 2011, Tracy returned home and joined Winemaker David Paige’s team at Adelsheim, where she spent more than four years as enologist, before leaving with David’s blessing in 2014 to join Nicolas-Jay.
“I’ve been incredibly fortunate to learn from some of the very best people in the business,” says Tracy. “People like Steve Doerner, who taught me to be passionate about the vineyards and treat wine as a living thing, Clive Dougall, who inspired me with his energy and artistry, David Paige, who instilled in me a standard of meticulousness and excellence, and now Jean-Nicolas, who is sharing his incredible breadth of winemaking knowledge with me.”
Today, Jean-Nicolas, Jay and Tracy oversee every decision that goes into making the wines of Nicolas-Jay. ”As a winemaker, this is a dream come true,” adds Tracy. “Not only am I making Pinot Noir from the finest vineyards in Oregon, I’m doing so side-by-side with one of the world’s great Pinot Noir winemakers. And what makes it even more special is that it is so collaborative. It’s never about ego. It’s always about the vineyards, the grapes, and the wine.”