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Levine 'Movin' On Up' to New City Winery

Mindi Levine to leave her marketing job at Uptown Theatre Napa and work for the new City Winery.

Mindi Levine. courtesy photo
Mindi Levine. courtesy photo

Napa radio personality and marketing maven Mindi Levine has been tapped for the position of marketing manager at the new City Winery.

Levine, 45, marketing manager at the Uptown Theatre Napa for the last four years, officially starts her new gig on Jan. 6.

However, she said she was "pretty much already ramping up" plans for City Winery, which opens in April in what is now the Napa Valley Opera House on Main Street in downtown Napa.

"It's exciting," said Levine, who said she will keep her regular 2-to-6 p.m. on-air radio gig on KVON 99.3 "The Vine" in addition to her new job.

"I will always be a friend of the Uptown, and they will always have a place in my heart," she said.

"But it's exciting to be dealing with a team that's been doing this type of venue for 30 years," she said. "It's a whole different level (of operation)."

In August, entrepreneur Michael Dorf of New York City-based City Winery announced a partnership with the Napa Valley Opera House. City Winery already has locations in New York and Chicago, and will also open a Nashville location next year -- in addition to Napa.

City Winery Napa is expected to offer 225 shows a year, a new restaurant with in-theater dining and a $2.3 million upgrade to the Napa Valley Opera House building -- including the sound system. The Opera House will continue to offer 75 shows a year for such local troupes as Lucky Penny Productions, Napa Valley Folklorico and others.

Levine said the performers have not yet been confirmed, but she said she hopes to draw from the high-profile list of stars who have performed at the other City Wineries. Those include:

Citizen Cope, Taj Mahal, Rufus Wanwright, Suzanne Vega, Macy Gray, John Hiatt, Todd Rundgren, Joan Osborne, Wyclef Jean, Keren Ann, Aimee Mann, Natalie Cole, Jay Farrar, Joseph Arthur, Howie Day, Leo Kottke, Steve Earle, Marianne Faithful, Los Lobos, Roseanne Cash, Marc Cohen, Jakob Dylan and Joe Purdy.

Although the performers' list is impressive, Levine, who will be organizing the marketing arrangements for the shows and events, said the "food and wine experience" is "not going to be an after-thought," she said.

The restaurant, which is in the process of hiring a chef, will also feature a bar with "tap wine" -- in other words, wine on tap.

"There's also a huge charitable component," Levine said. "We're donating space, food and wine for various fundraising events to seven local charities -- we're still lining those up," she said.

Levine's new role was hinted at last month by on-air colleague Bob St. Laurent, who chatted about Levine and then played the theme song from "The Jeffersons" TV show, "Movin' On Up (to the Big Time)."

Levine giggles about that "leak." It's part of what she says is a magical turn of events in her life and career.

"I've known about Michael Dorf for years -- being from New York, I knew he had the Knitting Factory Club in New York since the '80s," she said.

"He was recently profiled in Forbes as being one of the most influential people in business," she said. "Who would have thought I'd be connecting with one of my heroes in Napa?"

Levine said she expects to be on hand for four or five nights a week for shows at City Winery. That will likely cut into her early-morning gigs at The Vine, where she often helps open the "Good Morning Bob" show with St. Laurent as early as 6:45 a.m.

At the Uptown, Levine attended shows during weeknights -- but not every night, and it wasn't required, she said.

"I will be at the City Winery until at least 10 p.m.," she said. "I'm going to be doing some juggling."

Uptown owners George Altamura, Bob Vogt and Tim Herman have also reorganized with the departure of Levine and of former talent booker Sheila Groves-Tracey, who left earlier this year to purchase and operate the Penngrove Pub in Sonoma County.

David Lloyd has been named Uptown's executive director, and Talent Buyers Network has been engaged to do talent booking. Looking at next year's lineup so far, the Uptown will also be attracting huge stars, such as Johnny Lang, Kathy Griffin and Boz Scaggs.

Levine said her new role will involve more "relationship marketing" and traveling.

"I've always been out and about, but now, you'll probably be able to find me at a tasting room anywhere on (Highway) 29, with tickets in hand," she said with a laugh. "It's part of the plan."

Ed Rapp December 16, 2013 at 11:49 PM
Mindy is an awesome addition for City Winery Napa. I told them for months after they agreed to a deal with the Opera House, that she was the right person for that job. Those of us who are staying with the Opera House building and going to work for City Winery are thrilled she accepted this job. She will do an amazing job..

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