Michael Dorf Founder and Chief Executive OfficerMichael Dorf was born and raised in Milwaukee, WI. He graduated in 1984 from Washington University in St. Louis with a double major in Psychology and Business. With a strong love for music, in 1986, at the age of 23, Dorf founded New York City’s go-to venue for independent music, the Knitting Factory. From its inception to 2002, as Chairman and CEO, Dorf helped foster the concert house into prominence and expanded the brand into Europe and Asia through the production and sale of records, as well as the creation of branded festivals and tours.Dorf was recognized as a pioneer in producing music on the Internet, through a variety of strategic relationships with Apple Computer, Intel, MCI and Bell Atlantic. During his tenure at the Knitting Factory, he produced over 200 recordings with Knitting Factory Records, a television series, and eventually expanded and built the Knitting Factory in Los Angeles. In 2002, he left his operating responsibilities, sold his equity position and resigned from the Knitting Factory Board to pursue other endeavors. By 2008, Dorf had conceptualized a venue that brought his love for both the making and enjoyment of wine under one roof and created City Winery – Manhattan’s first fully-functional winery, restaurant, music venue and private event space. City Winery offers a wide selection of wines (on-tap, by the bottle or barrel), exquisite cuisine and performances from iconic performers (including David Crosby and Patti Smith to name a few) – making it one of the ultimate nightlife experiences available in New York. Dorf expanded his company in 2012 with the opening of City Winery Chicago. The location has attracted world-renowned performers to its stage, including legendary singer Prince, for intimate shows unlike any other. 2014 saw two new locations; in wine mecca Napa Valley at the historic Napa Valley Opera House and country music capitol Nashville.City Winery will continue to grow with plans for one or more locations to open annually. Dorf has become one of the most prolific independent promoters in New York and important music impresarios and according the The New Yorker. He has perfected the art of the Tribute concert. This year the series will honor David Byrne and Talking Heads at Carnegie Hall. The money raised this year should push the total for the 11 years of tribute concerts to over $1 million. Proceeds will go to benefit music education programs such as the American Symphony Orchestra's Music Notes, Church Street School for Music and Art, Young Audiences New York, Fixing Instruments for Kids in Schools, Little Kids Rock and the Center for Arts Education. Dorf has very a very strong tie to the Jewish Community. He created Tribeca Hebrew, an after-school program in Lower Manhattan. He served as the founding Chairman of Tribeca Hebrew and developed the school to 150 children before it merged with JCP in 2009. He is additionally on the board of Jewish Week, American Symphony Orchestra and is currently Chairman of LabShul/Storahtelling.
For more about Michael Dorf please visit www.michaeldorf.com.
David MillerChief Operating OfficerDavid E. Miller was born and raised in Huntington, New York. He began his restaurant career at the early age of twelve, washing windows of an Irish Pub in his home town. David holds an Associate degree in Applied Hotel and Restaurant Administration from Nassau Community College.
David is an experienced restaurant operator and leader in the industry. Miller has worked in the restaurant industry for over 40 years, gaining experience as a Restaurant Manager at Bennigan’s Restaurants in New York and Boston from 1986 to 1989. David joined TGI Friday’s as a Restaurant Manager in 1989, was later promoted to General Manager where he opened new properties in New Jersey and was later promoted to Director of Operations where his responsibility grew to 8 Central New Jersey restaurants. Hard Rock International pursued Miller and he joined Hard Rock Cafe in 2002. Miller oversaw the New York Cafe property and orchestrated the transition from 57th Street to 43rd Street in the heart of Times Square. His responsibilities would grow to Director of Operation for the Northeast which included 13 Hard Rock Cafe properties and a joint venture partnership between Hard Rock International and the New York Yankees in 2009 to open a Hard Rock Cafe inside the new Yankee Stadium. Soon, Miller was asked to oversee the NY Yankees NYY Steak concept as COO and Director of Operations which included running the Board of Directors. He enhanced the NYY Steak concept and developed a second location in midtown Manhattan by Rockefeller Center. Ignite Restaurant Group recruited David as a Regional Vice President for their Joe’s Crab Shack concept in 2015. David would be responsible for 62 restaurants on the east coast and later the entire concept throughout the United States with 112 restaurants. In 2017, Landry’s Restaurant, Inc. purchased Joe’s Crab Shack and Miller remained as a Regional Vice President during the transition.
Millers love of wine, food, music and philanthropy has made for an easy transition to COO of City Winery. In addition to his career, Miller serves as Vice Chair of the Board of WhyHunger. He also has serves on the Board of The Harry Chapin Foundation and The President’s Council of Make a Wish New Jersey.
Avi KentChief Growth OfficerAvi was named Chief Growth Officer of City Winery in January 2018. In this newly created role, Avi is a key stakeholder in driving the growth and strategy of the company, and executing all business development initiatives.
Prior to joining City Winery, Avi served in multiple executive leadership roles in the music festival business. From 2009 to 2016, he was an Executive Vice President with Superfly (co-founders of The Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival in Tennessee, and Outside Lands Festival in San Francisco), providing leadership and strategic direction for the creation and execution of market-leading live experiences. At Superfly, he led the execution of new business initiatives, strategic partnerships, joint ventures, and M&A opportunities, including the successful sale of Bonnaroo to Live Nation in 2015. Avi also ran the festival business for The Madison Square Garden Company during 2016 and 2017, where he also sat on the board of directors for The Boston Calling Music Festival, which was acquired by Madison Square Garden in 2016.
Prior to working in the music festival business, Avi had over 10 years of investment banking and private equity experience. He has a bachelor’s degree from The George Washington University and an MBA from The University of Miami.
Angela Alvino Chief Financial OfficerAngela came to City Winery in January 2017 as the Vice President of Accounting, with over 20 years of finance and accounting experience. A year later she was promoted to Chief Financial Officer. Angela’s primary role is to manage the financial controls and accounting procedures of the company and ensure full transparency over the financial performance. As a member of the executive team at City Winery she plays an integral role in supporting the growth and success of City Winey.
Before joining City Winery, Angela had an extensive career in the recorded music industry. Her previous position was as Vice President of Finance and Operations at Razor & Tie; once the largest independently owned record company, they were responsible for the highly successful Kidz Bop brand and such bands as The Pretty Reckless, Starset and All That Remains. In addition to Razor & Tie, Angela’s other career credits include positions at BMG, EMI and Polygram Records. Her position at City Winery has introduced her into the hospitality industry, but still allows her to keep close to her music industry roots.
Angela graduated from Pace University with a Bachelor of Accounting. Throughout her career she has been fortunate to be able to combine both her love for music with her passion for accounting.
Ed GreerChief Production Officer and Chief People Officer (HR)Ed has over 25 years of hospitality and production experience. Having run Mr. Dorf's Knitting Factory venues until 2000, Mr. Greer became the GM of the Bowery Poetry Club while launching a freelance career as one of top production managers in New York. His clients include Lincoln Center, Newport Jazz and Folk Festivals, Saratoga Jazz Festival and many other large productions. His experience with high-level productions and his years of operating venues makes him a unique asset to the company in his role as Chief Production Officer.
He is charged with overseeing and developing all projects outside the City Winery premises, including the sponsorship with Central Park SummerStage, Bryant Park Fall Festival and partnerships opportunities with the Hudson River Conservancy, as well as design and consulting on concert and production services in all City Winery locations.
David Lecomte Chief Wine MakerAs far as David is concerned, winemaking is an endless learning process, not a science. As testimony to this philosophy, David has devoted the past 16 years to learning all he can from the finest in the industry, working at some of the best-known wineries in the world. He continues this process - and shares his knowledge - at City Winery, Manhattan's first fully operational winery, as its Head Winemaker.
A native of the Rhone Valley, David most likely has grape vines entwined into his genetic code. Armed with a Degree in Viticulture and Winemaking from the University of Davaye in South Burgundy, plus a Master Degree of Enology and Winemaking from University of Montpellier, David began his wine career at M. Chapoutier Estate as a vineyard worker at the age of 22. He has since worked at other wineries in France (Delas & Fils, Cave de Tain L'Hermitage and Colombo), China (Beijing Dragon Seal), and three wine regions in the United States (Virginia - at Afton Mountain Vineyard; Long Island, NY - at Premium Wine Group, and most recently in California - at Herzog Wine Cellars).
In his role as Head Winemaker at City Winery, David takes on the unusual task of creating wine in the middle of Manhattan. Equipped with a deep appreciation for the importance of soil, climate, grape selection and vineyard practices, he is particularly dexterous in the art of identifying where the best of each grape variety is grown and gathering the fruit from the finest vineyards.
As David states: "There are no perfect winemaking recipes because each combination of variety, soil, climate, vineyard management and cellar equipment is unique." With this in mind, David has the challenge of guiding amateur enologists - City Winery's 200 barrel owners - as they create their own wine in SoHo. To ensure they have the optimal experience, David sees to it that the grapes are not only the best, but they are transported from the respective vineyards in optimal condition; not just de-stemmed, but hand-sorted, and carefully monitored in each respective fermentation tank. While many winemakers work autonomously with only their own creative vision in mind, David is responsible for the wine what each barrel owner wants to create. By understanding their tastes and preferences, he not only makes the grape-buying decisions, but also advises on the exact blend, the barrel type and the duration of aging. Through his guidance, barrel owners realize their dream to create their own wine. And with approximately 250 bottles to consume at the end of the process, they will be grateful their guide has devoted his life to learning all he can about winemaking.
Shlomo Lipetz Vice President, ProgrammingShlomo lives and breathes music and works hard to bring interesting, diverse and exceptional talent to City Winery's stage. A member of the core team that founded City Winery in 2008, Shlomo is a well-recognized figure in and around the venue. When he isn't perfecting his Shlo-Mullet hair, rambling in Hebrew or blasting his latest music discovery in the office, he is busy making concerts happen - often 5 days or more per week!
Shlomo also books external productions and benefit concerts with Michael Dorf Presents, including the famed NYC venues Carnegie Hall, Central Park SummerStage, The Apollo and much more. When he is not in music mode, he plays for the Israeli Baseball team as the starting pitcher.
David Richter Vice President Of Operations
David’s career has been spent working with the world's most acclaimed chefs, agriculturists and wine makers in and around New York City and abroad. He has a long time involvement in the world of wine that includes retail, importing, and education and wine list consulting experience. He has traveled internationally, speaking on several topics around the culinary arts. He continuously improves his impact on the world of food and wine by staying in touch with the world's leading practitioners and educators.
Some of his contributions to this industry include Beverage Director of Esca and Beppe Restaurants and General Manager of Maremma and The EU Restaurants. He holds the Wine and Spirit education Trust Advanced Certificate, wine tasting note credit for the cookbook True Tuscan, by Chef Cesare Casella, and has created wine lists granted the Wine Spectator Award of Excellence. He has also appeared in guest spots on food related television programming, as well as a satellite Radio appearance. Speaking credits include events with Gourmet Magazine, Motorola, New York Magazine, The Wall Street Journal, Unisys, Washington Journal and Microsoft.
Hayyim Danzig Director of Design and Construction
Hayyim Danzig joined City Winery as the Director of Design and Construction in 2018 to manage the creation of new City Winery locations. Hayyim was attracted to the confluence of music, wine, beautiful and functional architecture, and a great new challenge. Hayyim has over 10 years of experience in the creation of award-winning cultural spaces, and 18 years of experience in the music industry. He designed and managed projects for top-tier cultural institutions including the American Museum of Natural History and Liberty Science Center. Most recently he managed a team of architectural, landscape, and exhibit designers and project managers for the Wildlife Conservation Society on projects at the Bronx Zoo, Queens Zoo, Central Park Zoo, and New York Aquarium at Coney Island.Hayyim first came to City Winery as an artist, playing shows as a bassist with his band Blue Fringe, a Jewish rock group that toured five continents and released three albums. Hayyim performed at several Michael Dorf Presents productions including the New York Jewish Music & Heritage Festival, Oy!hoo Festival, and the Downtown Seder, as well as at the Knitting Factory. Hayyim holds an honors bachelor’s degree in psychology from Yeshiva University and a master’s degree in industrial design from Pratt Institute.
Garrett Larrow National Director Of Online Experience/Dot ComBorn and raised in the steel city and also attended Point Park University, Garrett loves ensuring every customer has a superb experience while on CityWinery.com. When not clearing the cache, writing code, A/B testing and keeping the site up to date with a modern look and feel as well as the technology behind it, he enjoys watching reruns of Mad Men, reading INC & Entrepreneur magazine and playing his favorite sport, baseball.
Rebecca Spindler National Director of Guest ServicesRebecca comes to City Winery with a background in theatre. Originally from Rochester, NY, Rebecca attended Niagara University for Theatre Performance graduating in 2007. While performance was the main focus of her studies, she was always working behind the scenes as well bossing people around. Rebecca continues to perform and take classes in the city with companies such as The Gallery Players in Brooklyn and The Barrow Group in Manhattan. Among her performance skills is a certification by the Society of American Fight Directors as an actor combatant, which led her to her initial gig at City Winery as a bouncer. Unable to resist her wily charms, she was quickly brought on as a hostess and eventually worked her way into management. As her love of wine grows, so does her love of City Winery and her coworkers. Cheers!
Rachel Driver Speckan National Wine DirectorAfter six years immersed in the industry of all things boozy, Rachel is thoroughly dedicated to being the ultimate wine geek. Rachel was the General Manager of LUSH Wine and Spirits in Chicago, an integral component to the company since inception, and helped craft it into the most fun and nerdy retail wine shop in Chicago. She has also traveled extensively, collecting vineyard rocks, eating local specialties, and drinking wine in Italy, Spain, Portugal, and Greece, as well as visits to Long Island in New York and Paso Robles in California. And, Rachel grew up on a farm in Arkansas, with serious roots to the land.
With a special place in her heart for edgy California winemakers, dusty Italian reds, lush and stony Savennieres, and funky American microbrews, Rachel keeps the beverage list dynamic, delicious, and well balanced. Rachel is incessantly drinking wine, talking about drinking, encouraging others to drink, teaching about drinking, writing about drinking and eating adventures, drinking, tasting, researching, and talking about drinking. Beer and spirits are captivating subjects that Rachel likes to experiment with, but her true love is traditional and yet innovative wines with character. She is thrilled to work in a functional winery setting , but also teach courses and host wildly exciting, exclusive wine events at City Winery!
She has initiated research and training in the Court of Master Sommeliers and the Cicerone Certification Program. Also a cultural anthropologist by educational training and curious by disposition, she is on a mission to research and taste all things fermented and, in turn, share the love and knowledge with fellow wine lovers.