Nicole Hitchcock

Nicole Hitchcock

J Vineyards & Winery (Head Winemaker)

Nicole Hitchcock was born and raised in Carmel, CA, and discovered her passion for the wine industry when working alongside sommeliers in various restaurants. What particularly piqued her interest was the global appeal and diversity of wine.

She pursued this interest by earning a B.S. degree in Viticulture & Enology in 2001 at the University of California, Davis. A minor in Italian, combined with her training in winemaking, led to a summer position at an agriturismo in Todi, Umbria. After graduation, she worked a harvest at Robert Mondavi Winery, following that with a two-year stint as Sales Representative and Fine Wine Market Specialist in the Bay Area for E & J Gallo Winery.

In February 2004, Nicole traveled to western Australia to work a harvest at Houghton Winery in Nannup, and then returned to the U.S. to assume the position of enologist and ultimately senior winemaker for E & J Gallo Winery in Livingston. During this six-year period, she gained further international experience by participating in harvesting activities in Gallo-partnered wineries in Argentina.

Nicole was named assistant winemaker for Gallo of Sonoma in mid-2010, where she worked alongside Gina Gallo, crafting Chardonnay and Malbec. Three years later she became quality manager for E & J Gallo Winery in Healdsburg, a position she held for nearly two years. In April 2015, she was named head winemaker for J Vineyards & Winery.

Nicole has furthered her formal education in the wine industry by completing an MBA in Wine Business from Sonoma State University in 2016. Married and the mother of two daughters, she says, “They often tell me that they want to work in the winery with me when they grow up.”