We focus on top values and small production wines with a sense of place. Our wines have amazing people and places behind them, and we love telling their stories. Our team is passionate about wine and travel. We taste together, we lunch together, and there's no place we'd rather be.
Founder / Wine Director
I used to be a lawyer. When I started City Wine Merchant in 2009, I did it to create amazing experiences, explore the world, and help people to drink better wine. I was very fortunate to grow up with parents who recognized the joys of seeing the world and sharing good wine with family and friends, and I wanted to spread that view of the world to as many people as possible.
I believe that all great wine has a sense of place. What makes it special is the land it comes from and the people who create it. That's our focus at City Wine Merchant. Our wines have amazing people and places behind them, and we love telling their stories. And our team is awesome too! Scroll down and get to know us a bit!
Director of Client Services
Favorite Wine Region: Champagne. The history of wine can be an extremely romantic pursuit, and I find great allure in Champagne. Whether celebrating an anniversary or a Bills victory, I choose Champagne - particularly Rose. I highly recommend reading Tilar J. Mazzeo’s The Widow Clicquot to catch a glimpse of the moxy it took to build an empire. After all, as Hugh Johnson & Jancis Robinson wrote in The World Atlas of Wine, "To be champagne, a wine must do more than sparkle."
Best Trip Ever: For our Honeymoon, I persuaded my beer-loving husband to explore Italy. We spent just over a week in Tuscany, walking the hills, drinking copious amounts of unlabeled wine from jugs, and having one of the best adventures of our lives.
Currently Studying Up On: California. I just finished Kathryn Hall's "A Perfect Score," and have found myself doing more research on The New California and the young winemakers changing the face of California wine.
Can't Travel Without: A book (can you tell I like to read?)!
Traci Donaldson Lee
Director of Finance & Planning
Favorite Wine Region: Bordeaux. I love the city, the people, the food & its energy. Please don't ask if I prefer the left or right bank, I absolutely love them both.
Best Trip Ever: Eating, drinking & exploring the country roads of Montalcino with great people.
Currently Studying Up On: French regions, grapes, history & producers through The Wine Scholar Guild's French Wine Scholar Certification program.
Can't Travel Without: A huge scarf that doubles as a pillow or blanket, pens & notebooks.
Director of Marketing & Sales
Favorite Wine Region: Rioja. I don’t think I have tasted a wine from Rioja I didn’t like. The reds are complex and the whites crisp. The Tempranillo’s are everything I want in a wine-fruity and juicy to start with a smoky silky finish. Another awesome thing about this region is the wines tend to be super affordable, which means I can enjoy often. My next trip will definitely be to Rioja!
Favorite Trip Ever: A road trip with my husband up the California coast, ending in Napa. The coastline is picturesque; we hiked in Big Sur, stopped at vineyards and ate incredible food along the way.
Currently studying up on: Bordeaux Futures. Making money, while investing in great wine sounds like a win, win. I want to know more.
Can’t Travel Without: My camera. I love taking photos on vacation. I have this thing with doorways, I can’t help taking photos of them in every city I visit.