Our Team

Wine Director Leo Schneemann

Leopold Schneemann was born in Vorau, Austria and studied restaurant management at the Hotelfachschule Oberwart, a hospitality college in Oberwart, Austria. After graduation, Leo worked in a series of high-end restaurants before starting his sommelier training as an assistant sommelier at Obauer Restaurant in Werfen, Austria, and in the vineyards at Seppi Landmann winery in Soulzmatt, France. He returned to Austria to study for his sommelier diploma, which included a series of three-month courses.

After receiving his sommelier diploma, Leo moved to Vienna and worked for two years at Restaurant Steiereck. Restaurant Steiereck is considered to be the best restaurant in Austria and is especially heralded for its wine inventory. Between 2006 and 2007, Leo worked intermittently at Donabaum winery for periods of six weeks and up to three months during the spring and summer. It was then that he developed a great connection with the winemaker, Johann Donabaum. Schneemann’s globe-trotting sommelier work continued at Fischerzunft Restaurant in Schaffhausen, Switzerland and at Crocodile, in Strassbourg, and then on Crystal Cruises in 2007.

In October of 2008, Alois Kracher, the maker of one of the best sweet wines in Austria, introduced Leo to Austrian Chef Kurt Gutenbrunner. In January 2009, Schneemann finally came to the United States to join Chef Gutenbrunner’s team with a mission to develop a wine inventory to match Kurt’s exquisite Austrian menus as well as coordinate events at Cafe Sabarsky. Leo worked to bring in all of the most important Austrian vintages dating back to 1993. This inventory includes a broad range of Austrian wines that are not available on the American market and in particular, those of winemaker Willi Brundlmayer.

Among his many accomplishments and experiences in New York City, Schneemann has taught a course at De Gustibus, one of the world’s top cooking schools, and is member of the American Sommelier Association. He continues to collaborate regularly with representatives of the Austrian wine industry and the Austrian Chamber of Commerce in New York to further the reputation of contemporary Austrian cuisine and wine.

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