The average college student ready to enter the real world is most concerned with getting a job. Any job. Something to use to help pay off loans and get a leg up on life.
In the case of Devin Shoemaker, he's already reaching the heights. That's because his new company, called Rooftop Reds, will be involved in New York State's burgeoning wine industry when he graduates from Finger Lakes Community College in May with an associate's degree in viticulture and wine technology.
Shoemaker has shown an entrepreneurial spirit from a young age. He will be working with the Red Hook Winery in Brooklyn while he continues to work on building Rooftop Reds with three partners. His training at FLCC follows studies in marketing at George Mason University. His work history includes business development, sales management and event coordination.
In 2010, he and his brother David Shoemaker moved to China to create a successful swim school for youths, a venture that grew from one small pool swim program into one teaching nearly 1,000 youths (ages 6-16). He then returned to the U.S. to help create several start-up programs in Washington, DC. He also worked for the Screwtop wine bar in Arlington, VA, which helped fan his growing interest in the world of wine. That's what led him to enroll at FLCC where he got a thorough education in the wine industry. His next goal is to create New York City’s first commercially viable rooftop vineyard.
Last May, Rooftop Reds' founders planted a 50-vine rooftop vineyard in Brooklyn consisting of red Bordeaux varietal grape vines representing the traditional red Bordeaux grapes -- Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Malbec and Petit Verdot. This spring's expansion of the rooftop project will lead to New York City's first harvest in the fall of 2015, which will make it the first commercially viable rooftop vineyard in the world.
Shoemaker's team includes Evan Miles, third generation of his family to work at their estate winery Miles Wine Cellars and Vineyards in the Finger Lakes, and started Miles Craft Ales; Thomas Shomaker, a journalist and commercial media producer, cinematographer and editor who does rooftop gardening on ythe top of his Brooklyn residence; and, Chris Papalia, currently majoring in viticulture studies at FLCC with a goal of completing a bachelor's degree in viticulture and Oenology program in a warm climate region.
Here is a link to the team's Kickstarter financing campaign.