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!
VP of Marketing & Operations
When Eric opened City Wine Merchant, our first baby was 3 weeks old. I wasn't sure I would ever sleep again, let alone join Eric on this epic journey. But many years later, it is my privilege to be part of this team that builds experiences and enhances the lifestyle of those with a passion for wine, food, travel and adventure.
Traveling the world with Eric, discovering great wine, meeting exceptional producers, and understanding the rich history and diversity that have built the wine industry keeps me motivated and enthusiastic. Everyday we seek to find new ways to bring those experiences back to our customers.
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 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: Bordeaux. I am excitedly awaiting the arrival of our Bordeaux Futures and reading up on the new vintage.
Can't Travel Without: A book. (Can you tell I like to read?)
Favorite Wine Region: Alsace. In college, I studied abroad in Strasbourg, France which is in the heart of Alsace. I fell in love with the food, wine, and cheese scene in France. Alsatian wines are often overlooked, but you can find some incredible wines and unbelievable values. To this day, my favorite snack is a good Alsatian white wine with some cheese!
Favorite trip ever: I have been fortunate enough in my life to see a lot of the world. Outside of my time in Strasbourg, my favorite trip was when I had the opportunity to travel to Morocco to visit one of my closest friends. I loved the food and unique culture. My road trip to Colorado, Utah and Arizona is a very close second!
Currently Studying Up On: I am trying to learn the Italian language in my spare time, so learning more about Italian wine goes hand-in-hand. Many people think that French wines are the hardest to learn and wrap your head around, but I think that learning about Italian wines is more challenging. There are so many native Italian varietals; Italian wines are some of my favorites.
Can't Travel Without: Some good music and a pocket language book.