Shane Benson was born and raised in Silver Spring, MD, falling in love with food while in college at Ohio Wesleyan University. However, upon graduation, he worked as corporate controller for a trio of family-owned construction businesses in Washington D.C.
After several years, Shane left the womb to attend the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, NY. While at the CIA, Shane was a personal chef in the Rhinebeck area. He continued cooking after school on the weekends while working a job on the floor of the American Stock Exchange during the week.
In 2001, Shane left the culinary profession and to concentrate on a career in finance, working the floor of the ASE for nine years as an index and equity derivatives specialist and partner for STR Trading Partners. During that time, Shane eagerly pursued a myriad of private equity deals, one of which lead to the creation of New York Vintners.
In 2006, he brought two worlds together by partnering friends from the CIA with friends from Wall Street to found NYV.
In December of 2008, Shane left Wall Street to become an owner of New York Vintners, where he has remained ever since. In 2018, Shane moved New York Vintners from its original home on Warren Street to its new location at 63 Barclay Street, expanding the programming to include a wine bar, indoor farm, private members wine club, 200,000 bottle professional grade cellar, and of course, retail wine store.
New York Vintners is the preeminent non-industry food and wine educator in the United States, conducting more tastings, wine and cooking classes, private events and winemaker dinners than anyone else in the country.
Harris’ dive into the wine world came after spending five years working in Real Estate. Growing up in Manhattan, he always had an interest in food – whether it be going to his favorite restaurants or cooking a meal for friends and family.
Upon graduating from Colgate University, Harris held various Real Estate roles at JP Morgan and Morgan Stanley, gaining a wide set of skills in client outreach, financial analysis, and operational management. During this time, he discovered a new passion for wine through Shane Benson and the original New York Vintners store on Warren Street. After a few classes at Vintners, Harris started collecting and immersing himself in any wine experience he could find. Realizing Real Estate was not his passion, he looked to chase a new interest in Hospitality and Wine.
Harris left Morgan Stanley in 2019 to join Shane as COO of New York Vintners as construction on the space began. Leveraging the skills he learned in his corporate life, he was able to add a new perspective to the emerging Vintners team.
Harris oversees New York Vintners' day-to-day operations, including business development, partnerships, and events. During his time at Vintners, he has gained expertise in a variety of wine regions that have allowed Vintners to expand their sales opportunities and capabilities.
Kara Joseph was thrilled to rejoin the NYV team as Wine Director, having been a wine educator at the Warren Street location and loved every minute. Kara took a hiatus from New York City for the last few years to hone her wine craft, promote a book she wrote on wine, and travel the world seeking new wine regions to explore.
For those who don’t know Kara, she's had quite the journey with wine. Her origin story began when Kara took off for Napa after graduating from the University of Florida. Kara's first job was at the wine bar of the iconic Inglenook Estate. After a summer in Napa Valley, she was overwhelmingly hooked and pursued her Sommelier certification, which, upon passing, opened the world of wine up even further.
After two years in the wine country, Kara drove back across the country to take on New York City. She soaked up all of the experiences the city had to offer, working as a wine director and educator while continuing continued to immerse herself in her own studies. After a few years in the city, Kara obtained my Diploma through WSET and finished the manuscript for her first book.
In 2022, Kara published her first book, If Wine Could Talk. It blends her personal narrative of living a nontraditional life of wine with wine education. Most recently, Kara was accepted into the Master of Wine program, looking to earn the title of Master of Wine in three years, with no intention of slowing down. Kara's passion for wine and people continues to grow every day and she can’t wait to meet and create incredible wine moments at Vintners for all guests.