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.
From the school of hard knocks, Jake got his start washing dishes in Akron, Ohio. After being thrown on the line when a cook called out sick, he held his own through his first “rush” and fell in love. He found that the intense kitchen was where he felt peace and purpose. Jake moved to New York with just a duffle bag. Here, he would come to work with respected chefs such as Laurent Tourendel, and built a high-profile client list, including billionaire Facebook Co-Founder Sean Parker. Jake soon led his own kitchen and is credited with the repair of a failing Manhattan restaurant. Arriving at Brooklyn Winery, the young chef is happy to have everything under one roof. The barrel and fermentation rooms are right next door to our kitchen, and it’s not uncommon to find Jake picking our winemaker’s brain. In his time off you can find him visiting his friend’s kitchens for a bite to eat and at undiscovered oddball farmer’s and flea markets. He often catches himself reading useless facts and treating Netflix TV shows as movies with his roommates.
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!