Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Harvest is Coming, Harvest is Coming!

It Takes a Wine Village to make every bottle of inspired J, especially during harvest.  We are so appreciative of our adoring J Fans that we want to share the hard-working J Harvest Team Members that bring your favorite bottles of J to your table for sharing with family and friends.

J Team Member: Tracy
Position at J: Production Forklift Operator
Years working on the J Team: 15 Years
Favorite J Wines: J Vintage Brut Magnum &  
J Vineyards Nicole’s Pinot Noir

Tracy tends to have an inspiring outlook on life, that includes his life at J Vineyards & Winery, Tracy says, “the dedication that my team members have at J for their job makes me want to always put out my best effort”.

Tracy is a very unique individual and he is known around the winery as the favor guy, “I am always ready to start my day at J with my best foot forward by making my team members laugh, seems to pass the day by on a happy note.  And I am always happy to lend a hand; even though I am very busy since I am the main forklift driver for the winery, if someone else needs a favor with other work duties around the winery I am always ready to lend a hand.”

Tracy landed his job at J Vineyards & Winery by accepting a temporary job that his friend advised him about, Tracy says, “I held a temporary job for two years before being offered a permanent position in the production department working on the bottling line.  When I became a full time permanent J employee I was so fortunate to have another J team member take me under his wings and be a mentor to me, he trained and developed my career by teaching me the aspect of forklift driving, disgorger the sparkling wines, and learning the operation of the bottling machine.  My most impressive task was learning the operations of the riddling machines, this is very important for J’s sparkling wine production as I need to keep the riddling bins operating on a timely  and efficient manner as this is an imperative process for making sparkling wine, after all, sparkling is J’s legacy.  I have advanced my career over the past 15 years at J Vineyards & Winery and have kept a steady pace of continuing to learn all aspects of production”.

Tracy is not only very active with his team members at work, he also has a couple of hobbies that keep him bonded with his family, Tracy says, “my family and I have a strong bonding relationship when it comes to bowling.  I have been bowling since I was five years old and started on a league in Santa Rosa, CA.  I am currently, and have been for many years now, on an adult bowling team in Windsor, CA.  Since a lot of my family members bowl, it makes for a favorite family activity for us.  So far, I have bowled 11 out of 12 strikes about seven times; I am still looking for my perfect game.”

Just like bowling, another family and friend activity is fishing, Tracy says, “fishing is a very strong passion for me, my father took me before I could even walk and I have not lost my grip on my fishing pole since.  My family and friends plan all of our camping vacations around fishing, a favorite time is from July to early November during the fall run when the salmons return at the Klamath River.  Unfortunately, this time frame is during the winery’s harvest, which is a very busy time at J, but I do find time to enjoy this family and friend outing in the small windows of opportunity that arise during harvest.  In addition, if there are a few hours of opportunity before the day ends, I love to fish in the Russian River, which is right behind the winery.  My favorite fish to catch is the Steelhead as it is the best fighting fish, this fish gives me quite a challenge to catch, which makes for a more appreciated and savoring meal.” 

Tracy not only loves catching the fish he also loves cooking it too, Tracy says, “the best recipe for cooking steelhead is to smoke it, or cook it in Bear Republic beer batter, by the way, Bear Republic is a great local brewery in Healdsburg.  I will also put a spice dry rub on the Steelhead and barbeque it, goes great with the J Vineyards Nicole’s Pinot Noir, really tasty.”

Tracy spends his morning break with a cup of coffee in one hand and the comics in the other hand.  “I love reading the comics; my favorite comic strip is Hägar the Horrible with his wife Helga.  It really makes me laugh as the comic strip reminds me of my parents as Hägar is a mild-mannered working class Viking devoted to his family and answering to his wife.”

Tracy is really looking forward to harvest as he learns new skills every year, and with our new Winemaker, Melissa Stackhouse, working her second J harvest he plans on picking her brain, Tracy says, “It’s going to be really cool working with Melissa again this harvest, it is a great time for me to learn more about her winemaking techniques as I tend to ask her a lot of questions as the grapes are arriving at the winery very early in the morning.  Melisa is such an admired Winemaker and I am fortunate enough to learn from one of the best in the industry.”

Although Tracy has a passion for fishing he is also a big baseball fan, “I started going to the Oakland A’s games with a friend when I was 21 and I got the A’s bug, hook, line and sinker.”  Melissa Stackhouse organized a fun baseball trip for the J team members to watch the A’s verse the San Francisco Giants at the Oakland Coliseum on June 24, 2012 and of course, Tracy was all over that one. “It was a really fun employee outing for all of us, but the highlight of the game was the walk off home run by the A’s in the bottom of the ninth inning, the A’s had two outs with their last batter brought the final score to A’s at five and Giants at three, I was in my glory.”

Tracy is an all-around solidly dependable and very helpful guy around the winery; he is much appreciated for his fun humor and great nature.  Moreover, he loves to share his prized caught fish with J team members; he tends to lure the team in during the lunch hour for a tasty treat.  We are so lucky to have Tracy as a J family member, he is the revered “favor guy” always more than willing to lend a helping hand to other’s at the winery.  We love ya Tracy! 

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