Meet Our Rooftop Reds Team
Devin Shomaker - Founder and Managing Partner
Devin came from an entrepreneurial background before establishing Rooftop Reds while a viticulture student. After obtaining a marketing degree at George Mason University, Devin’s employment history focused on business development, sales management and event coordination. In 2010 Devin moved to Shenzhen, China for three months and built a successful swim school with his eldest brother, David Shomaker. From a small one-pool endeavor, this venture has grown into a city wide, multiple-pool program now teaching nearly 2,000 Chinese youths. After China, Devin assisted several startups in Washington, DC, leading their sales production and business relation efforts. After two years of this, Devin decided to take his career in a very different direction; he enrolled in Finger Lakes Community College’s Viticulture and Wine Technology program in The Finger Lakes region of Western New York State. This higher-education foray into the wine industry inspired Devin to form Rooftop Reds. After graduation, Devin has been growing a robust network of collaborators and enthusiasts for Rooftop Reds. Rooftop Reds officially opened to the public in April 2016 in the Brooklyn Navy Yard.
Chris Papalia - Co-Founder
Chris is a young viticulturist and winemaker. Previously, Chris assisted in winemaking and vineyard management at Hosmer winery on Cayuga Lake. In May 2014, Chris graduated from Finger Lakes Community College with a degree in Viticulture and Oenology. Chris has previously gained extensive training and experience working for Dr. Franks Winery in the Finger Lakes. During an internship that evolved into a vineyard management position, Chris learned vineyard installment and maintenance techniques. Throughout working with Dr. Franks and Hosmer Winery, Chris has developed a large amount of experience in the cellar as well as out in the field. Chris is emerging as one of New York’s premiere young winemakers.
Thomas Shomaker - Co-Founder
Thomas is a journalist and media producer, cinematographer and editor. His photography and video stories have appeared in The New York Times, The Huffington Post, Upworthy, The Washington Post, Channel 13’s MetroFocus, The New York World, AlterNet and Italy’s RepubblicaTV and D Magazine among other publications. He has lived in New York City for over 13 years, the last several of which with his wife and their daughter. Thomas hosted the 50-vine pilot vineyard for Rooftop Reds on his roof in Brooklyn in 2013. In 2014 Thomas completed a Master’s of Science in journalism at Columbia University. He now primarily produces short documentaries while also developing the media and social outreach for Rooftop Reds.
TJ Provenzano - General Manager
Originally from Westchester NY, TJ’s background is mostly in restaurants, beginning in Boston where he got his first wine-buying job at age 23. In 2010, TJ opened The Brooklyn Oenology Winery Tasting Room in Williamsburg with winemaker Alie Shaper, and spent the next 6 years as their General Manager. This is where TJ developed his passion for New York State wines. Working closely with their winemaker, TJ developed an affinity for the unique terroir of the state with a special concentration on the North Fork of Long Island, and the Finger Lakes. Besides his work at Rooftop Reds, TJ is also a co-owner and the Managing Partner of Mayanoki, NYC’s first and only all sustainable sushi omakase in the East Village.
A former musician, TJ lives in Bushwick Brooklyn with his wife Briana, their many plants, and a misfit tuxedo cat named Nero. His passions include music, wine, and food. Somewhat of a vinyl addict, you can occasionally catch TJ spinning records on the rooftop under pseudonym “DJ Chicken Parm Hero”.
Clara Kann - Director of Wholesale Accounts
Clara’s journey in the wine industry began in the Finger Lakes region of upstate New York in the vineyards, cellar, and tasting room of Hermann J. Wiemer. From there, Clara went on to work harvests in New Zealand, Austria, and South Australia. Following this work in wine making, Clara assumed the role of head sommelier at Wallsé in the West Village in NYC . While at Wallse, she worked to open and manage their neighboring food and wine bar, Upholstery Store. Clara later met Devin Shomaker while working as the Regional Sales Manager for the Finger Lakes winery, Ravines Wine Cellars. Her interest was piqued by Shomaker’s urban rooftop vineyard and soon enough, she joined the Rooftop Reds team.
During the warmer months Clara can be found on the roof convincing guests that Riesling can be dry, and drinking sparkling wine will increase the span of one’s life; Her rooftop call sign is “Agador Spartacus”.
Will Reynolds - Head Bartender
Alongside his work at Rooftop Reds, Will is an actor (tour: MAMMA MIA!, off B'way: DADDY LONG LEGS, PASSION), composer-lyricist (recorded by 6-time Tony Award winner Audra McDonald on her latest album GO BACK HOME), and a vocal coach for Pace University and MTCA (Musical Theater College Auditions). Will got to know the wine world while spending several summers in Sonoma working with Transcendence Theater Company, and has loved discovering and getting to share the incredible wine being made in his NY backyard. And yes, he did see you fall out of the hammock. www.willreynoldsonline.com
Natasha Rowe - Event Coordinator
Natasha is an Australian native from Melbourne who had established a solid 10 years hospitality experience in the Australian market. Natasha brought her skills to New York City in 2010. Here, she has continued to add value and culture to our fine land, spreading her management expertise across from New York City to Texas. Previous to Natasha’s time at Rooftop Reds, she was employed as the Beverage Director at Flinders Lane in East Village where she had the pleasure of designing cocktail menus, connecting with the guests and refining her event and management skills, which she shares with Rooftop Reds today. When she isn’t busy planning your next event, Natasha is spending her downtime exploring the culinary streets of New York City. She enjoys escaping the city, heading Upstate or to Fire Island whenever she can and you can also find her on the streets obsessing over every dog she sees.
MEET OUR VILLAGE VINES TEAM
Malcolm Baker - Village Vines Director
Malcolm’s background is in education, coaching, and management. He has two post graduate degrees; an MA in Philosophy from Fordham University and an MA in Education from Queens CUNY. For the past seven years Malcolm has been working as a teacher at the East Side Middle School where he founded NYC’s first middle school frisbee team and subsequently helped establish NYC’s first middle school frisbee league. He is particularly proud that in 2018 the league had grown to 19 teams! Malcolm believes that this Middle School league will ultimately (see what we did here?) be the catalyst that pushes NYC to finally make Ultimate a PSAL sport. His passion for creating opportunities to benefit others is the reason Malcolm is now running our new non profit, Village Vines.
Originally born in Westchester County, Malcolm has been living in NYC for the past 13 years. During his free time you will often find him losing in cornhole to Devin.
Mira Atherton - Village Vines Development Coordinator
Originating from Middlebury, Vermont, Mira graduated from Mount Holyoke College with a degree in Environmental Studies and a focus on urban sustainability. After graduating, she worked in resource development and communications for a design education nonprofit, DownCity Design. Mira spent the past year as a NYC Urban Fellow in the Parks Planning Department researching gender disparities in park attendees, and gathering public feedback for city projects. Mira joined the Rooftop Reds team in the summer of 2018 and is helping launch Village Vines, our new nonprofit. She is an avid shade tree advocate and can often be found trying to convince her friends to play wiffle ball with her.