Michael Dorf - Founder and CEO, City Winery
When Michael Dorf finds a new passion, he does more than enjoy it. He builds a business around it. His enjoyment of music led him to create the Knitting Factory in 1986, which went on to become New York’s consummate venue for independent music. In 1994, he pioneered live webcasting to have the first live music streams from a club anywhere in the world. His own spiritual journey moved him to create Tribeca Hebrew in 2004, an after-school program that invites children to explore their connections with history and develop their Jewish identity. As way to raise philanthropic funds for music education for underserved youth, he created an annual series of Tribute concerts at Carnegie Hall which have raised over $400,000 in net dollars for a those charitable programs in the last 6 years. In 2008, Michael’s passion for wine inspired him to create City Winery, Manhattan’s first fully operational winery complete with two wine bars, a cheese bar, restaurant and a performance space. The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, and The New Yorker have all labeled him an “impresario” with New York Magazine even lauding him one of the “10 Most Influential New Yorkers.”
Since it opened, City Winery has become one of the preeminent concert venues in NYC, catering to a sophisticated clientele seeking a distinctive locale to enjoy world-class performers. Some of the artists who have played to packed houses have included Richard Thompson, David Byrne, Los Lobos, Patti Smith, Suzanne Vega, Philip Glass, Joan Osborne, Steve Earle and many more. The quality and frequency of sold out shows combined with the positive press garnered is an ongoing validation of Michael’s vision. City Winery is the place to experience quintessential New York culture against a unique backdrop, from participating in the winemaking process, sampling wines in one of two barrel rooms, indulging in some cheese and a favorite vintage, or fulfilling a lifelong dream of seeing your favorite musician perform in an intimate setting. City Winery realizes and focuses several of Michael Dorf’s passions, and represents a continuous drive to bring people together and deliver a unique experience of wine, culture and music.