The foundation of their wine experience began almost 40 years ago while working in the restaurant trade in Kansas City. They were trained in the classics: fine wine, fine food, and fine service. Having attained positions as wine stewards (sommeliers), the lure of vineyards and wineries brought them to California in 1980, settling finally in the Napa Valley by 1984.
Over the first decade of living in the Napa Valley, John held executive positions at Caymus Vineyards, Clos Du Val Wine Company and the Niebaum-Coppola Estate (Inglenook). Tracey focused on a growing family (Reed & Jerzy Lang) and philanthropic efforts such as the St. Helena Public Schools Foundation and Auction Napa Valley. In 1994, she embarked on the first of two stints working at Spottswoode Estate Vineyard and Winery and has recently completed round two as Sales Director.
Since arriving in the Napa Valley, Tracey & John have been actively involved with the Napa Valley Vintners, both serving lengthy tenures on the Board of Directors, acting as Co-Chairs of the 10th anniversary Premiere Napa Valley barrel auction, and participating as members of many subcommittees. John served as President of the NVV and the Auction Napa Valley in 1996, the same year that Lang & Reed became the 125th member of the NVV.
During their wine ‘foundation’ years, the Skupnys became intrigued by the magnitude of distinction Cabernet Franc held from notable wine regions in France: Loire Valley and Bordeaux. The early 80’s in Napa Valley found vintners utilizing Bordeaux varieties as components of their red wine blends, and Cabernet Franc was a key varietal. Its critical contribution led Tracey and John to explore the broad range of aromatics and flavors emerging from Cabernet Franc.
Inspired on this journey, the Skupnys set out to produce a Cabernet Franc that was ‘true to type’, redolent in aroma, and pure in flavor with, structure and balance. In 1993, a prototype was crafted, Lang & Reed Wine Company was born, and the rest is history.
Tracey and John reside in St. Helena with their daughter and an abundant number of dogs, and they are fortunate to have many more family members living nearby in Napa Valley and Anderson Valley.