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