James Christopher Tracy was born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area. His father is an automobile dealer, a former vineyard owner, a racing car driver, and a wine collector. His mother has been a nurse, is a master gardener and a great cook. His family exposed Christopher and his sister Alexis to great wines, wine regions and foods from an early age.
Christopher attended schools on both the East and West coasts, and after earning a BA in Performing Arts/Philosophy, he migrated to NYC to pursue graduate theatre training. In 1993, with wife Allison Dubin, he co-founded the Momentary Theatre, a not-for-profit organization that performed in California, New York, Texas, Connecticut and Hungary.
After several years of writing “undercover” restaurant reviews in NYC, on the side, Christopher attended the French Culinary Institute in Manhattan. He graduated first in his class and received a Grand Diplome. Christopher worked as the Pastry Sous Chef at March restaurant and then as Executive Sous Chef of Robbins Wolfe Eventeurs, both based in NYC. While working as a chef Christopher earned his Sommelier Certificate from the Sommelier Society of America as well as the Higher Certificate from the Wine and Spirits Education Trust. He was awarded the Diploma from the Wine & Spirits Education Trust (WSET) which entitles him to the D.W.S. distinction. He also holds a CWE (Certified Wine Educator) certification from the Society of Wine Educators. Christopher was also a student candidate for the Masters of Wine program for a few years.
Christopher’s initial involvement with Channing Daughters Winery was as a Wine Club Member, then as a Team Merlot member. In 2001 Christopher began developing several new products and cuvees for the winery. Through the introduction of both ancient and modern practices…indigenous yeast fermentations, longer extraction periods, small batches, field blends, white wine skin fermentation, astute barrel control, the molti rosati project, our VerVino’s and most importantly, blending, he believes Channing Daughters and the Long Island wine-growing region will keep on growing and producing world-class wines. He is now a partner in the company, as well as the winemaker.
What are the unique characteristics of your winemaking style?
Deliciousness. A reflection of our place. Boundary expanding/Envelope pushing. Diversity.
Describe the relationship between the Long Island wine community and the agriculture, aquaculture and overall East End culinary culture.
The Long Island wine community, the agricultural community, the aquacultural community and the overall East End culinary culture is all one inextricable web. They all feed and rely on each other.
What foods are paired best with the wines of Long Island?
I cannot think of a food that doesn’t pair well with some Long Island wine…tell me what you are eating, where and with who and I will find the perfect wine pairing, whether it’s from our Channing Daughters portfolio or a wine from one of our friends or colleagues.
What Long Island wine would you recommend to someone just discovering the region?
Sparkling…CDW Pet-Nat (any)
White…CDW Scuttlehole Chardonnay
Pink…CDW Rosato (any)
Red…CDW Sculpture Garden (older vintage like 2008)
Sweet…CDW Muscat di Boom
Fortified…CDW VerVino Vermouth (any)
What are your passions outside of wine?
Family, Friends, Food (growing and cooking), Music, Art, Beauty, Water (boats, fish, fun)
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