A Gal Who Loves Wine and Fun…

The NSI quiz has always meant to be short, sweet, informative and fun. Why? Maybe it’s me, but I’ve never understood the appeal of most food and wine sites, with their eye glazing recipes and tasting notes or their fab experience talking terroir in some grape field. Informative? I hope any reader interested in hospitality, restaurants, cooking or wine service will come away from any of my posts with some fresh perspective on what makes a good resort, winery, restaurant, hotel, event and finally, fun. It’s why I ask about music, drinking, eating out or celebrity. It’s what people like to read.

Nicole Hitchcock

So when J Vineyards head winemaker, Nicole Hitchcock, got back to me recently, I could tell she was a little thrown by my opening questions, not your typical wine interview. But she went with it and we had a lot of laughs doing the NSI quiz… cheers and enjoy… 

What was last night’s dinner? We had some terrific Thai takeout. Don’t ask me what the restaurant was, my husband ordered it. But it was awesome, pad Thai paired with some sparkling wine.

Favorite music? I like electronic music.. what is that called EDM?? Anyway, something with a modern beat that makes me dance.

Favorite drink?  Kombucha. It’s a fermented drink, low alcohol, can be acidic, fruity and really refreshing.

Favorite place to eat in Sonoma County? Bird & The Bottle. It’s part of the Stark Group and just down the street from me. Great cocktail list and I love their fried chicken.

What makes a great winery? For me it’s attention to detail. You want everyone on your team working for a common goal. You want your team providing a great hospitality experience for people when they visit your winery and I’m very proud that J Vineyards does that in spades.

Favorite thing about living and working in Sonoma County? I love the proximity to the ocean, then the mountains in the background. You get a clear blue sky with a 70 degree day, what more do you want?

Any wine, restaurant or trip on your bucket list? I hope to dive the Great Barrier Reef in Australia before it bleaches out.

Any brush with celebrity? You know, funny you should ask. I’m just terrible with celebs, wouldn’t know them from Adam. When I hosted in Carmel I seated Gene Hackman at the worst table by the kitchen door but I didn’t know who he was. But for J Vineyards, Tyra Banks came here and appeared to love it and posted a bunch of pics of her visit here all over her Instagram account.

Final thoughts? Oh, I’m just so looking forward to getting back to normal. Before Covid hit, J Vineyards was known for throwing the best parties. A winery where you could really have some fun and I’m so looking forward to when we can do that again.