our winemaking team
David Lecomte, Head Winemaker New York & Chicago
As far as David Lecomte 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 destemmed, 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.
Caroline Schrader, Chicago Winemaker
Caroline Schrader is an award-winning winemaker in Illinois, dedicated to creating wine reflective of true craft and care through hands-on and focused production. Her work is built on the old school philosophy that great wine is made from working with your hands, patience, and creativity. She weaves this philosophy into her practice by creating small-lot craft wines. From barrel fermented Sauvignon Blanc, to delicate yet gritty Grenache, Caroline is making wines that she not only hopes people will enjoy, but that also provide an element of surprise.
As the associate winemaker, Caroline is responsible for managing the cellar operations and the wine production for both the West Loop and Chicago Riverwalk locations. Prior to City Winery, she worked at Wild Blossom Meadery and Winery in Chicago's Beverly neighborhood.
Previous to her career in wine, Caroline was an architect at Chicago powerhouse firm, Solomon Cordwell Buenz with a masters education from the Illinois Institute of Technology and bachelor's education from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign.
Thank you Volunteers!
City Winery is thankful for the dedicated work of its winery volunteer staff. See photos of our volunteers hard at work - coming soon!