In 2016, Devin Shomaker pursued an extremely unlikely idea - a commercially-viable vineyard in the heart of Brooklyn, New York.
Setting up in Brooklyn has been a perfect fit for Rooftop Reds. It was the Navy Yard that had a specific appeal to Devin. “The Brooklyn Navy Yard was always appealing to me for two reasons, the first being the historical importance of the naval shipyard in American and world history and second, the repurposing of the industrial complex into an innovative hub for manufacturing in New York City.”
In addition to the historic and innovative advantages there, another great value is the community of other businesses there. Events director Natasha Rowe says of their Navy Yard neighbors, “we actually showcase some of our neighbors in the Navy Yard because we believe in supporting hyper-local businesses.” The relationship to the community at large is easy to build, according to Natasha. “We have such a unique venue that isn’t a hard sell. I mean, who wouldn’t want to be immersed in a vineyard on a rooftop in New York City?!”
Their rooftop vineyard hosts guests and events for outdoor drinks among the vines, and keeping that experience unique and rewarding is a major priority. Devin believes that hospitality is “the key to our vineyard and tasting room business. Most people assume that maintaining a vineyard in New York City is the challenge but I would argue that catering to New Yorkers and their level of expectations is the most challenging part of the job.”
There are a lot of extra hours required to keep a vineyard like this running as both a venue and a growing operation. Limited time means even more work to stay on their feet. “We are only open 7 months of the year, we have a super high influx of leads day-to-day.” Natasha says that responding to every lead takes up more hours than people would think.
With time on their feet, having comfortable shoes is a priority to the staff of Rooftop Reds. Natasha wears the Grainer Chelsea boot and says “ECCO shoes are supportive and comfortable which is something that is incredibly important at work. I would say they definitely fit in both my work and personal life because they are super stylish too!”
DEVIN AND NATASHA'S FAVORITES