Michael Dorf, Chief Executive Officer
When Michael finds a new passion, he does more than enjoy it--he builds a business around it. His enjoyment of music led him to create the Knitting Factory in 1986 at the age of 23, which went on to become New York’s consummate venue for independent music. In 1994, he pioneered live webcasting to have the first live music streams from a club anywhere in the world. His own spiritual journey moved him to create Tribeca Hebrew in 2004, an after-school program that invites children to explore their connections with history and develop their Jewish identity. He served as the founding Chairman of Tribeca Hebrew and developed the school to 150 children before it merged with JCP in 2009, another local organization which he served as a founding board member.
As way to raise philanthropic funds for music education for underserved youth, he created an annual series of Tribute concerts at Carnegie Hall which have raised over $700,000 in net dollars for a those charitable programs in the last 8 years. In 2008, Michael’s passion for wine inspired him to create City Winery, Manhattan’s first fully operational winery, restaurant and a performance space. The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, and The New Yorker have all labeled him an “impresario” with New York Magazine even lauding him one of the “10 Most Influential New Yorkers.”
Since it opened, City Winery has become one of the preeminent venues in NYC, catering to a sophisticated clientele seeking a distinctive locale to enjoy world-class performers. The quality and frequency of sold out shows and plethora of private events combined with the positive press garnered is an ongoing validation of Michael’s vision. City Winery is the place to experience quintessential New York culture against a unique backdrop-which realizes and focuses several of Michael Dorf’s passions, and represents a continuous drive to bring people together and deliver a unique experience of wine, culture and music. His company gives back over 15% of its wine to numerous non-profits and cultural organizations. The Winery will be opening a second location in Chicago in the summer of 2012.
He is additionally on the board of Jewish Week, American Symphony Orchestra, Storahtelling and Downtown Arts Development. Dorf is also widely known as the creator of the “Downtown Seder” which brings 25 artists, musicians, comedians, and political figures to each take a section of the classic Passover story and present to sold-out audiences over the past 12 years. Michael is married with three children and lives in Tribeca, New York.
For more about Michael Dorf please visit www.michaeldorf.com.
Bradley Geist, Chief Financial Officer
For the past twelve years, Bradley has been the chief financial officer for LKS Concepts, LLC a hospitality management company, which operates Dylan Prime, a modern steakhouse, and Devin Tavern, a new American gastro-pub both located in New York City’s Tribeca neighborhood. In addition to developing and implementing systems to monitor sales and profitability, Bradley has extensive experience raising capital and managing credit and investor relations.
In 1989, Bradley entered The Bank of New York’s management training program, where he focused on credit analysis and loan restructurings. Upon completion of this program, he was assigned to the bank’s commerical lending division as Assistant Treasurer, where he managed a $250 million loan portfolio comprised of Fortune 1000 customers in metropolitan New York. In 1995, Bradley received his Masters in Business Administration from Tulane University with a concentration in corporate finance and entrepreneurship. Instead of returning to Wall Street, he chose to combine his financial skills and knowledge of small business start-ups with his passion for restaurant’s, and worked to develop and finance several concepts in the food and wine industry.
Bradley moved to Las Vegas in 1998 to manage Todd English’s restaurant Olives at the Bellagio Hotel, which grossed over $10 million in its first year of operation. Over the next two and half years, he focused on learning all aspects of restaurant operations as well as becoming a sommelier, achieving certification by the Court of Master Sommeliers in August 2000.
Ed Greer, Chief Production Officer
Ed has over 25 years of hospitality and production experience. Having run Mr. Dorf's Knitting Factory venues until 2002, 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 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.
Stephanie Johnson, DWS, Executive Wine Director
After a successful 16 year publishing career, Stephanie decided it was time to follow her passion, so she traded in her books for a tasting glass. She holds the Intermediate, Advanced, and Diploma in Wine & Spirits designations from the London-based Wine & Spirit Education Trust. Stephanie has worked in wine retail with Astor Wine & Spirits, consults on cellar development for private clients, serves as a judge at international wine competitions, and conducts private tastings and wine education events. She has been the Wine Director for City Winery since 2008 and recently took on the role of Executive Wine Director for City Winery’s New York and Chicago locations.
Stephanie built City Winery’s 400+ bottle list to include classic wines as well as many esoteric styles and emerging regions, and received Wine Spectator’s Award of Excellence in 2010 and Best of Award of Excellence in 2011. She is currently enrolled in the London-based Institute of Masters of Wine study program, allowing her to utilize both books and tasting glass.
Britt Hamlin, Head Concierge; Assistant to CEO
Brittnie had such a great time working in City Winery’s concierge booth that she decided to move in permanently. A native of Leesburg, GA, Britt has a background in entertainment and performance with a BFA from the University of Mississippi. With a diverse resume, ranging from Wall Street to a Durango saloon, she brings an eclectic experience and a touch of a Southern drawl.