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 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, tennis, golf and skiing.

John hails from world-renowned Glendale, California but made NYC his home more than a decade ago after running approximately one billion miles for the University of California - Santa Barbara cross country team. Once settled in the big city, he interned for a landscape architect, worked at a fish store (aquariums...not a seafood store), waited tables, and worked his way up the creative services ladder at Marvel with guys like Spider-Man and The Hulk. Needing a change, John then found himself in online product management at, where he and some co-workers did some extracurricular winemaking. Always an idea guy, he wanted to be his own boss—so he's now co-owner of Brooklyn Winery. In his spare time (not that he has much), John likes to run (very short distances), maintain his amazing 55-gallon coral aquarium, and pet his furry friend Walter, probably the best cat in the world.
Conor McCormack was born in Ireland and raised in Northern California, where he got his start in the wine industry in 2003 working for a Vineyard Negociant who focused on sourcing premium grapes from some of the best vineyards in Napa, Sonoma, and Mendocino counties. Since moving to Brooklyn in 2010, Conor has been focused on producing fine wines from multiple and distinct growing regions in a wide range of styles, with the linking factor for all, first and foremost, being the quality of the vineyard. “I strive to make elegant yet intense wines that showcase a particular site from a particular year. I want to highlight each region for what it can do best, while also pushing the boundaries of what is often expected.” Conor brings a strong combination of technical training and hands-on experience to Brooklyn Winery, specializing in boutique premium wines.

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.

Rachel moved to the big city many years ago from exotic New Jersey. A proud east-coast girl, she graduated from George Washington University where she became passionate about their undefeated football team and studying hospitality. While at GW, Rachel lived abroad in Seville, Spain, which is, she believes, where her heart still resides. Since entering the workforce, Rachel has worked in fashion and media, covering everything from wedding gowns to footwear to technology products. Brooklyn Winery was a natural fit, giving Rachel the ability to combine her sales and marketing experience with her passion for food, wine, and events. In her spare time, Rachel uses every last penny she has to try any and every restaurant in the five boroughs, travel as much as possible, and improve upon her near-perfect baby back rib recipe.

Chuck was born on a cold, blustery February morning in the Bronx, NY. His formative years were spent upstate in the apple picking mecca of Warwick, NY. After moving to San Francisco, CA. in 2004 he bounced around several restaurant jobs before landing a gig at Crushpad SF, where he learned the art of urban wine making. Longing for home, Chuck eventually returned to the east coast where he met up with his old pal Conor McCormack for the 2011 harvest at Brooklyn Winery. When he's not in the cellar, Chuck enjoys playing loud and fast rock n' roll with his band, watching bad horror movies and spending all his money on good beer, fancy restaurants and vinyl records.

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 kids' 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 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.

Jessica Petti came from a land of rainbows, unicorns and sunshine, also known as Colorado. She moved to New York to become a famous actress. Jessica decided to leave the fame and fortune for other passions and has been working in the hospitality industry for almost 10 years, most recently at Uva Winebar. She fell in love with wine while working as a captain at Felidia Restaurant. The Sommeliers took her under their wings and snuck her sips of amazing vintages of Amarone and Barolo. This is also where she met her husband; this girl loves food and wine so much she went ahead and married a chef! She also recently completed the Viticulture and Vinification course at American Sommelier Association. Jessica is thrilled to be involved at Brooklyn Winery where she combines her two favorite things: event planning and winemaking. She is excited to continue coordinating beautiful weddings and events, and loves every second of it!

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 perpetually training for her next half marathon and will be the first to tell you that brunch afterward is always the best part.

A native New Yorker, Marisa grew up in the hospitality industry, more specifically in a bar by the name of Spirits Saloon, which her father owned. After graduating from University of Delaware, Marisa embarked on a career in event production and management, earning her chops at luxury watchmaker Jaeger-LeCoultre. From there she moved onto the world of caffeine, managing events and sponsorships for Swiss coffee brand Nespresso. Most recently, Marisa produced events for the likes of Google, YouTube, and Spotify and is super psyched to continue her career in hospitality with the Brooklyn Winery team! In her spare time, she has volunteered for Musicians on Call, a national organization that brings live and recorded music to the bedsides of hospital patients. And as a committed music fan, you’re likely to find her at a live show on her nights off. She proudly calls Brooklyn home where she lives with her husband, (adorable) son, and like a million CDs, albums, and MP3s. 

Caroline comes from an Italian family and was raised in the suburbs of our nation’s capital. Growing up frequenting DC restaurants with her family, she quickly learned the importance of good food and wine. In her opinion, there is nothing better than gathering loved ones around a table full of food! Always known as the “planner” of the group, she decided at young age that the event industry was where she belonged. While studying hospitality and business at St. John’s University, she broke into the New York City event planning scene, and has loved every minute of it ever since. In her free time, if she’s not at an art gallery or music venue, you can find her laid out at McCarren Park with her dog and a good book. While she enjoys traveling to new cities, she has planted roots in Brooklyn and is thrilled to be a part of the Brooklyn Winery team!

Emily hails from the heart of the Finger Lakes, where she grew up directly between Cayuga Lake and Seneca Lake, which means she obviously frequented both! She likes to spend her summers sitting by the water, tasting some local wine, and enjoying the most beautiful views on earth. She got her degree from the University of Edinburgh, where she learned the value of a nice scotch on a rainy day. She decided to dry off and warm up in Provence for a year and still misses the four Euro glasses of rosé. After years of travelling to and from the Finger Lakes, she decided to compromise and move to Brooklyn where she could have the excitement of the city without having to fit her life into two suitcases that she could barely lift. (Taxi drivers all over the world give thanks). She is absolutely thrilled to be a part of the Brooklyn Winery team, where she can combine her love of wine with her wedding planning past. In her spare time she can be found reading a good book, exploring new places, and trying to convince people to let her walk their dogs.

With a youth spent in Washington state, and an adulthood spent mostly in New York City (punctuated by stints living and travelling abroad!), Stephanie is a bi-coastal gal through and through. Holding a degree in English with an emphasis in creative writing, at her core, Stephanie is a lover of words and books, and is known to occasionally publish magical realism short stories. The draw of the big city was originally the publishing world, but as she found her way into the exhilarating world of events, she found her place amongst similarly minded planners. Always one to eagerly micromanage anything from a grocery list to a road trip through France, event planning seemed as natural a step as any. Following a year living in Paris, where she learned to begin her days with a strong espresso and end them with a glass of wine, working at Brooklyn Winery was simply serendipitous. She continues enjoying strong coffee and wine, and can be often be found spending weekends trying out every recipe published on Epicurious, jaunting out of town for a dose of some nature, or cozying up on the couch.

Raised next to the best skiing on the west coast (in the U.S., at least), Bruce’s upbringing in Bend, OR was definitely idyllic. But he relinquished the beauty of pine trees and mountains for palm trees and traffic by heading down to Santa Clara University to study Theatre. During his tenure in CA, he did take a short break to return to his mountainous roots by getting his M.A. (in the always marketable Performance Theory and Criticism) from the University of Montana. He also spent a couple years touring with Missoula Children’s Theatre, where he’d teach, direct and perform shows with anywhere from 20 to 75 kids (in new towns) each week. He left the Bay Area for good and headed out to NYC in ‘99 to pursue directing opportunities. In 2002, he and a partner founded Manhattan Children’s Theatre (yes, MCT is a favorite abbreviation). Before, after, and even during his residence at the children’s theatre, he helped manage various offices & projects for such companies as Silver Lining Productions and Fresh before joining the Brooklyn Winery team, which he’s very excited to be a part of!

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.

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…of course with her dog, Daji (the real Beast).