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.
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 Vice President Of AccountingComing Soon
Ed Greer CPO Chief 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.
Greg Kitowicz, Vice President, Business & Venue DevelopmentGreg brings 15 years of hospitality experience to the City Winery team. He has managed world class entertainment venues such as the original Twilo in NYC, the famed Supper Club in the heart of Times Square, and the upscale bowling and billiards lounge Lucky Strike Lanes. He also served as Operating Partner of the hip East Village multi-media lounge, Open Air. He brings an expertise in handling large scale multi- revenue venues and loves the multiple hats he gets to wear daily to achieve a memorable guest experience.
Greg has managed diverse private events with many of NYC’s fortune 500 companies; highlights include the Foo Fighters, Puff Daddy’s Birthday, and many A-list celebrity functions that he still can’t speak about.
After a enjoying a three year mid-life crisis in San Diego where he helped launch a startup beverage company, Greg returned to NYC. He came to City Winery as a customer in search of a great glass of wine and three months later was hired as Service Director. He is excited to bring his years of experience at CW-NYC to launching CW in the windy city.
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!
JC Shurts National Director of Operational DevelopmentJC has spent the last 18 years working all aspects of the hospitality world. A native of Iowa, he spent most of his youth around some of the most beautiful farmland in the country. Learning to appreciate and respect what came from the forest, field, and garden, he found his calling within the world of food & beverage. JC has had the honor of opening two hotels, three restaurants (including partnering in two of his own), creating/designing several menus for different concepts, and working internationally. He is a veteran of the US Navy, a successful kitchen manager, published mixologist, and member of the Master Court of Sommeliers program.
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.