David Lecomte, Chief Wine Maker
As 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.
Bill Anton, Wine Maker
Bill Anton is a retired Thoroughbred Jockey, with a career spanning from 1981-1996. There, through the many contacts in the Industry, Bill became exposed to some incredible food and wine. The wine that did it for Bill was a 1979 Chateau Latour.
Anyone who really knows Bill, knows his love for the old world wines! After retiring, Bill decided to attend a Culinary school in Florida to follow his 2nd passion, food! During the program he took a food and wine pairing course. Out of curiosity, he applied to work a harvest at Castello Di Borghese in Cutchogue, NY in 2002. After the harvest, Bill was offered a full time position. In 2005, Bill was offered the cellar master position by fellow LI winemaker Mark Friszolowski at Childress Vineyards in Lexington, NC. In 2009, after reading an article about City Winery, the concept of making wine in an urban setting sounded interesting. After applying a few times, a position finally opened working with David Lecomte. Back to his home state he went! Holding the position of Assistant Winemaker at City Winery New York since 2009, then the same at City Winery Chicago to assist Robert Kowal, from 2013. Bill is thrilled that his hard work has paid off and that he is now the production winemaker of City Winery Nashville in 2015. Now, he can live in a city where the music never stops!
Michelle Foletta, Assistant Wine Maker
A California native, Michelle Foletta was born with a spirited passion for the history, art and skill of winemaking. She brings four years of experience in the industry to City Winery Nashville as the assistant winemaker.After tasting her way through major wine regions around the world, Foletta studied wine with the Guild of Sommeliers and started her career in winery tasting rooms across California. She worked at Paso Robles AVA near the St. Lucia mountain range and then managed the wine club and commercial sales at Tanner Vineyards, a boutique winery in the Sierra Foothills. While Foletta loved working in the tasting room, her joy has always been in winemaking. In October of 2017, Foletta jumped at the chance to move to Nashville and join the City Winery winemaking team. Foletta lives in East Nashville where she loves to play guitar and cook. Wine is a part of her home life as well and she loves pairing a beautiful bottle of wine with something delicious and unhealthy. Additionally, Foletta teaches with the Roxy Regional Theatre in Clarksville, where she remains active with her first passion—theatre.