THe BKW TEAm

Brian Leventhal

Co-Founder
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 Stires

Co-Founder
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 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. 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

Winemaker
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.

Michael Gordon

Executive Chef

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.

Adam Cornelius

General Manager
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.

DEBRA BICKNESE

Chef de Cuisine

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).