Meet the Brooklyn Winery Team
Brian is one of Brooklyn Winery's founding fathers and has done everything from raising capital to selling weddings to installing a sheet rock ceiling (2 layers thick!)—in the Parlor room, if you want to check out his handiwork! Before embarking in the winery world, Brian spent countless hours making Excel models and PowerPoint presentations at McKinsey and Co. before joining ExpoTV.com and helping a cool tech startup. He also started an awesome water business at his alma mater, Washington University in St. Louis, which still exists today! In his spare time, of which there isn't much, Brian enjoys drinking wine (obviously), running in Brooklyn, tennis, golf and of course spending time with his wonderful fiancée Teona and his cute and cuddly pup Reese.
Born and raised in the NY burbs, Mike found his Zen majoring in Chinese philosophy and poetry at Wesleyan University with a minor in roast pork lo mein.
His passion for food and wine, which started at his family’s knee, led him, post college, to the CIA (that’s the Culinary Institute of America) where he collected intelligence (but nothing covert) and honed the Zen, establishing his philosophy of freshness of ingredients and purity in flavor and finesse. Post culinary school, he landed in Prospect Heights, cycling down to Duane Street to work at renowned Restaurant Bouley. Then he pedaled over the bridge where, once again, he put his yin and yang on food as fine dining and banquet chef at the Mandarin Oriental. Now that he should be biking more often from East Side Manhattan to Williamsburg to compensate for his after-hours love of take-out from “Chow Fat” the bike is rarely leaving the rack. He resolves to get pedaling again in short order.
Mike’s passion for reading everything from Sci Fi to his worldwide menu collection inspires his precise, meticulous, and uncompromising attention to prepare and present food that heightens every taster’s experience.
Virginia was raised in Long Island on home cooked Sunday dinners which reflected her Polish and Italian backgrounds. After studying graphic design and physics at NYU, she began a decade of work in some of New York City's best kitchens including Blue Hill, al di la, and The Vanderbilt. Most recently she spent three years at The Institute of Culinary Education running student enrichment classes and helping to shape the next generation of chefs. She has appeared on television in morning show cooking segments, as a Chopped contestant, and even selling blenders. As a newlywed herself, she is thrilled to bring Brooklyn Winery's beautiful, seasonal dishes to hundreds of weddings, saving happy brides and grooms from rubbery chicken marsala once and for all. When she is not in the kitchen, she can be found enjoying a bitter IPA or a crisp rosé in Brooklyn with her husband and two cats, planning adventures to anywhere from Thailand to Burning Man.
Lauren is a proud New Englander and a lover of the seashore and seafood. At her family’s boisterous holiday celebrations, Lauren first discovered the significance of food as the center of culture and community. This notion influenced her studies in Cultural Anthropology at Smith College and her two years abroad in India, where Lauren immersed herself in the wonderfully spiced and diverse cuisines of the subcontinent. After returning to the US, she missed chaos and overpopulation and promptly moved to NYC! Here she has taken on a variety of professional experiences from sweating it out in adrenaline-fueled kitchens, consulting on menus in quiet cafes, and teaching kid's cooking classes throughout the city. Lauren loves being part of the team at Brooklyn Winery where she strives to run a tight ship and keep the wine bar menu deserving of the beautiful wines made on-site. When she’s not at work, she loves to take long walks with her dog, Sammy, listen to NPR podcasts, and linger over multi-coursed meals with her boyfriend, RJ.
Jesi grew up in Maplewood, NJ, (a town recently called "Brooklyn of New Jersey" by the New York Times) learning to chiffonade, prep mis en place, and "whip things up" in the kitchen with her mom. Her love for weddings, wine, and food grew feverishly while living in Charleston, SC for college. She left the most romantic and beautiful city in the south (in her opinion) to come to NYC, where her love for food and wine has grown, while enjoying a successful sales career working with small businesses across the country. In her free time she likes to be on the yoga mat (preferably in child's pose), drinking delicious wines and craft beers, and ending the day with a run by the water. She is training for her fourth half marathon and will be the first to tell you that brunch afterward is always the best part.
Shelby's life has always been rooted in wine. Growing up in Long Island wine country, as the daughter of a winemaker, she took an interest in the industry at a young age. Shelby has served in tasting rooms, planted vineyards, harvested grapes, worked in wineries, poured at events, and sampled her fair share! Before joining the Brooklyn Winery team, she worked in publishing and is a graduate of Michigan State University. When she is not drinking wine she spends her time lost in a book, eating her way through NYC, traveling as often as she can, and skiing every chance she gets!
Adam hails from the wonderful state of Indiana where he grew up in a small town on his family's farm where they mostly grew corn and watermelon, among many other things. His father instilled in him a strong work ethic and attention to detail that he brings with him each day. He was introduced to the restaurant world by his mother early on and was hooked from day one. For almost 20 years now, Adam has been working his way through the ranks of the industry. He spent years working his way through Indianapolis and graduated from The Chef's Academy with a degree in culinary arts before moving to New York. Once here, Adam spent time managing restaurants such as Tribeca Grill, Momofuku Noodle Bar, and most recently The Brooklyn Star. He is extremely excited to be a part of the team at Brooklyn Winery and help to expand the brand to the Crown Heights neighborhood.
Growing up in California provided Matt with unlimited access to some the highest quality food and wine anywhere in the world. While pursuing his degree in Economics at San Diego State University, he worked in restaurants. Over time he realized his strong passion for food and wine, and developed a huge appreciation of how chefs create the dishes they put on their menus. After college in 2006, chasing dreams of creating menus of his own, Matt moved to NYC where he attended The French Culinary Institute's culinary arts program. In 2008, after culinary school, Matt enrolled in the American Sommelier Association's Viticulture & Vinification course. From there he expanded his wine experiences by working in fine NYC restaurants with amazing Sommelier Mike Madrigal of Boulud Sud and Master Sommelier Laura Maniec of Corkbuzz. In 2015, Matt earned the title of "Certified Sommelier" though the Court of Master Sommeliers. In his free time, Matt likes to take bike rides in Prospect Park, listen to classic jazz music, and dine in fine restaurants with his lovely wife Simone.
Born into an Italian/American family on Long Island, Deb learned quickly that life revolves around food. She attended the Culinary Institute of America, where she would graduate first in her class, taking home two of the three awards given at graduation. Working in places such as the Cub Room and City Hall, she learned about culinary finesse, how to walk-run, and how to accurately throw a hot sauté pan past a crowd of cooks into a sink. In 2005 she opened Beast restaurant on Vanderbilt Ave, pioneering the area’s culinary scene while simultaneously scaring off many confused by the name. In 2009, being a glutton for punishment, she set off to build a concept that would become Branded Saloon. After a successful and tiring run, she closed Beast and departed Branded for some much needed rest. That rest would bring her to the Brooklyn Winery family. When not cooking you can find her playing ice hockey at Chelsea Piers or staring at a squirrel in a tree somewhere…..or course with her dog, Daji (the real Beast).