Meet the District Winery Team

Brian LeventhalBrian 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 StiresJohn hails from world-renowned Glendale, California. After his college days at the University of California, Santa Barbara, he made NYC his home for more than 15 years before moving to DC to open District Winery. When he first settled in NYC, he interned for a landscape architect, worked at a fish store (aquariums...not seafood), 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, BKW, and District Winery. In his spare time, John likes to play piano, maintain his amazing 55-gallon coral aquarium, explore his new city with his wife Sarah, and pet his furry friend Walter, probably the best cat in the world.

John StiresConor McCormack, raised in Northern California, 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. After refining his craft in renowned cellars of the region, Conor relocated to the East Coast to build and launch the winemaking program at Brooklyn Winery, and has since been 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, BKW, and District Winery, specializing in boutique premium wines.

Michael Gordon Born and raised in the New York 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 Brooklyn's Prospect Heights, cycling down to Duane Street in lower Manhattan to work at renowned restaurant Bouley. Then he pedaled over the Brooklyn Bridge where, once again, he put his yin and yang on food as fine dining and banquet chef at NYC's Mandarin Oriental. Now that he has relocated to DC he should be biking more to compensate for his after-hours love of take-out, 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.

Sean AlvesSean grew up in New York, surrounded by a plethora of diverse cuisine and top-notch restaurants he would eventually learn from and contribute to. At Le Cordon Bleu, he earned a degree in Restaurant and Hotel Management that laid the groundwork for his devoted restaurant career. In the past eighteen years, Sean has had the fortune of working for some of the most successful restaurants and groups in the business, including Komi, Eleven Madison Park, and most recently with Kimpton Hotels and Restaurants. His experience has given him a sharp edge and a keen eye for the delicate balance between the best interests of the business and the guest. When Sean isn’t in the dining room, he can be found chasing around his two crazy kids, hiking, playing golf, or cheering for his beloved Mets.

Renae OulletteRenae was born and raised in the great state of Maine. She attended the University of New Hampshire with a major in Hospitality Management. She has grown her career in Hotel Catering through the years, bouncing around the East Coast and finally settling in the DC Area 5 years ago. Having spent a majority of her career in catering, she held positions with Starwood Hotels & Resorts, and most recently with Kimpton Restaurants & Hotels. She has also dabbled in off premise catering with one of the best in DC, Design Cuisine, doing events in locations all over the DMV! When she isn’t busy entertaining or throwing a fabulous event, she enjoys drinking wine, going to Orange Theory, getting together with friends, and traveling back home to Maine to eat lobster!