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.
Anum Ganju Chief People OfficerAnum joined the City Winery team in January 2019, with a career that includes HR roles in small and mid-size businesses, within the hospitality, retail, and consulting industries, across multi-unit and multi-state entities. Anum is passionate about “People First, Employees Second”, and strives to maintain a workplace where people LOVE coming to every day. Anum has expertise in building HR infrastructure, improving processes within existing HR departments, and driving new initiatives for businesses experiencing significant growth and cultural change.
In addition to her love for HR, Anum also has an extensive musical background, including a degree in Music Education. City Winery became the perfect place for her to combine her love for both music and human resources. Anum holds a B.A from Rutgers University, The State University of New Jersey and is a member of the Society of Human Resource Management (SHRM).
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.
Tirey ThomasVice President of National Event SalesTirey Thomas was born and raised in San Antonio, TX. She began her career in the event hospitality industry and never looked backed. From an early age Tirey loved events, creating unique experience and building relationships. Tirey is a vision orientated executively skilled in building transformative national sales strategies and campaigns that deliver extraordinary results. She was named Vice President of Nation Sales and is a stakeholder in driving event sales efforts andsupporting the event sales team. Prior to joining City Winery, Tirey was the Vice President of National Sales for the Patina Restaurant Group. She built and managed a highly loyal and producing team of 50+ with over $50M in special events sales. She oversaw all the national sales strategies and campaigns for the company’s operations. Working coast to coast, she has orchestrated catering for high-profiles events and galas such as the prestigious Creative Arts Ball, the Primetime Emmy® Awards, Governors Ball, the official GRAMMY Celebration®, Rockefeller Center, The Metropolitan Opera, The Empire State Building, Macy’s Herald Square, Brooklyn Botanic Garden, Walt Disney Concert Hall, Segerstrom Center for the Arts, San Francisco Opera, LACMA, and countless others. Tirey’s reputation as a leader among leaders began at Hard Rock International. As the head of Sales and Marketing, she managed efforts for 23 Hard Rock Café’s in the Western United States with precision, enthusiasm, and incredible results. Throughout her career she has been recognized and rewarded with prestigious industry awards such as the Corporate Partner of the Year, PR Cafe of the Year, and countless merit awards.
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.
Jared Gullekson National Director of Guest Services
Jared joined City Winery in September of 2019. He has worked in the luxury hospitality industry in Manhattan for the last fourteen years, with his last position being the Director of Guest Relations with Hilton during the transition of the London NYC to the Conrad New York Midtown. Prior to that he worked as Chef Concierge bringing guests exceptional experiences during their visits.
Before he moved to the East Coast, Jared attended Goddard College while living and training at the Olympic Training Center as a resident athlete for USA Taekwondo. He is a two-time US National Bantam Weight Champion and US National Team member, having competed all over the world. He now lives in New Jersey with his family. He is a life-long sports fan with a deep passion for live music, wine and travel.
Ganna Fedorova National Beverage DirectorGanna started her world tour as a child, moving with her family from Arkhangelsk, a city in Northern Russia to a small coal-mining town in Eastern Ukraine, where she grew up deeply immersed in the atlases and books of her parents’ library. She explored the space within ourselves and our relation to the universe while studying philosophy at the University of Kyiv. In her early twenties, she crossed the ocean and discovered a passion for hospitality and service. She honed her skills managing fine-dining restaurants. Her means of exploration found a new form, discovering far-off lands and stories captured in time capsules: bottles of fine wine. A Certified Sommelier, Ganna is delighted to share her discoveries and raise a glass with all those who join us at City Winery New York.
Hayden Kwast National Director of Ecommerce
Hayden joined City Winery as the National Director of Ecommerce in February 2020. He has overseen the design, development, management, and growth of ecommerce websites for over twelve years. His first website was a specialty coffee trading platform called Koffeelink that he launched in graduate school. He later sold it to a large agribusiness firm where he created and scaled their ecommerce. Hayden's websites have received various awards, including being named among the Hot 100 Ecommerce Websites of 2015 by Internet Retailer Magazine. Before getting involved in ecommerce, Hayden was a Peace Corps Volunteer in El Salvador for two years and worked as a consultant to the U.S. military. He is certified in wilderness first-aid (though it's probably now expired), and loves getting outside with his wife and two sons.
Raul MesiasNational Director of Wine Sales
Raul Mesias, National Director of Wine Sales, is a wine and hospitality lover and expert / brand strategist. He has been a crucial voice in developing the City Winery brand for the past 10 years. When he's not sipping wine, he's teaching about it ; from intimate wine tastings to global music festivals. His love for nature has had a major influence on making every City Winery event as sustainable as possible. Based in New York, he loves spending time with his kids and developing his creativity in the good he does for others. Raul's vast experience allows him to pursue many exciting opportunities around him and continue to develop them further. "Love what do and do it with love as love is the key to happiness." RM.