Meet Our Chicago Winemakers

Our winemakers have street (and vineyard) cred

Without a doubt, the heart and soul of our operation is the winemaking team. This knowledgeable, detail-oriented crew — seriously, they geek out on terroir and pairings and blending more than anyone we know — is the reason you’ll have a great time every time, whether you’re here for a Chicago wine tasting event, a bite to eat, or a special event.

So drop by for a Chicago wine tasting tour, and come and meet the magic makers we’re lucky to call our own.

Erik Subrizi, Winemaker, Chicago Winery

Erik started as a harvest cellar intern at our Washington, D.C. location, District Winery, for our first-ever harvest season. And instead of scaring him away, it made him want to stay! From there, he worked his way up to winemaker, and now, he’s made the move to the Windy City to head up winemaking here.

“We are excited to contribute to the city’s growing winemaking scene and vibrant hospitality landscape,” he says. “Philosophically, I believe grapes should speak for themselves and avoid a heavy hand in the cellar.”

Erik got his hands-on start in the industry by volunteering on organic vineyards in the Tuscany and Piedmont regions of Italy. Prior to joining us at First Batch Hospitality, he worked at Sunset Hills Vineyard in Virginia.

When Erik’s not in the winery, he enjoys cooking at home, practicing photography, and traveling. A native New Yorker who grew up in California, Florida, and Massachusetts, Erik has a degree in film from American University.

Conor McCormack, Executive Director of Winemaking, First Batch

When Conor McCormack answered a Craigslist ad to work as a wine harvest intern back in 2003, he couldn’t have known he was about to enter a world he’d never want to leave.

Now the executive director of winemaking for First Batch Hospitality, Conor started with us at Brooklyn Winery back in 2010. Like the conductor of an orchestra — a fitting comparison, given that his first love was music — Conor deftly manages the controlled chaos of the winemaking process, keeping an eye on factors like weather, equipment, sales trends, and the hundreds of other tiny details that go into crafting a solid sip of wine.

Ireland born and California raised, Conor has honed his craft at a number of urban wineries, including Crushpad, Rutherford Hill Winery, Brehm Vineyards, Audubon Cellars, and White Salmon Vineyards. Despite his wealth of experience, he’s always looking to level up his knowledge and creativity. “The world of wine is a never-ending learning process, and making new discoveries within it is a lifelong pursuit,” he says. “You can never know everything, but the journey is the point.”