Meet the District 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, tennis, golf and skiing.
John 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 ExpoTV.com, 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.
Conor 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.
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.
Renae 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!
Maggie grew up in Upstate NY. Her passion for cooking came from her mother’s love of hosting parties. She also loved to travel and found joy in trying new restaurants. Maggie decided to take that new passion and turn it into a career by attending the New England Culinary Institute in Vermont, graduating with a bachelor in culinary arts in 2011. Her studies took her to Boston Mass., Cape May, NJ, and NYC for three internships. After coming home to Syracuse she worked for two years at The Genesee Grand Hotel as lead banquet cook. Wanting to expand her skills and find new opportunities, she moved to the DC area in 2015. She first worked at Occasions Caterers and then Eat and Smile Catering as a Lead Chef. She is very excited to be a part of the District Winery team and looks forward to what the future brings. When she’s not in the kitchen you can find her spending time outdoors, finding great cheap eats in DC, or dancing the night away with friends.
Myra was born and raised in rural Ohio. Always super energetic and outgoing, she began craving something more than her small hometown could offer. At 18, she moved to the big apple to go to college at The New School. At that same time, she began working for Butter Group in NYC. With a flexible school schedule and eagerness to be involved, Butter Group offered Myra the ability to work at several venues and within many different positions and departments. After spending several years in hospitality within a number of different capacities, Myra was offered my first management position with a chef and business owner Sarah Simmons of City Grit, Rise Bakeshop, and Birds & Bubbles in NYC. Then the time came to relocate to DC. Myra joined the District Winery team and the rest is history. In her free time, Myra runs marathons, attends SoulCycle and other group fitness classes, cooks, attends concerts, and enjoys anything outside!
Born into a Marine Corps family in Cherry Point, North Carolina, Rebecca ended up in West Virginia where she was raised with her older brother and sister. She fell into the restaurant world while working through college. This spurred her hospitality career and where she become a restaurant manager for five years prior to moving to the DC area to continue restaurant management. Wanting to seek an alternative to her career while still remaining in the hospitality realm, event planning caught her eye. She has been in the events world for over four years as a private events manager with Neighborhood Restaurant Group prior to becoming part of the family at District Winery. When she is not coordinating events, you will find her either drinking wine with her friends or snuggled up on the couch with her Pom-Spitz mix, Macy.
Rita grew up in Phillipsburg, New Jersey, where she learned the importance of purpose, service and community. Her parents worked together in a law practice and were often paid for services in bushels of vegetables or bartered services. No one in need was ever turned away. After graduating from Wellesley College with a degree in Political Science, she traveled to the West Coast and continued her education at the University of California at Berkeley where she earned her J.D. Her career path has taken her from New York City where she was an appellate litigator, to the Washington DC area where she has managed businesses ranging from medical practices to commercial buildings to assisted living communities. Rita loves creating a positive community for co-workers and clients and believes solid relationships are the foundation for success. During her free time, Rita enjoys crossword puzzles, reading, kayaking, cooking, and watching the Yankees (apologies to the Mets, Red Sox and Nationals fans). Most of all, she loves spending time with her children, Kira and Ian.