board of directors
Michael Polenske is the creative director, chairman and founder of Bespoke Collection. Born to a military family, he spent most of his youth on the Travis Air Force Base near Napa Valley. His first exposure to wine came during family trips to California wine country.
Before founding Bespoke Collection, Michael had a career in financial services including as President and CEO of Chase Manhattan Bank & Trust Co., where he headed the private banking business in the Western U.S. He joined Chase Manhattan Corporation from J.P. Morgan, where he served as the head of the private banking group’s West Coast/North region.
Michael turned his attention to “the business of leisure” with the acquisition of Blackbird Vineyards in 2003 and the creation of an ultra-premium wine label of the same name. Blackbird Vineyards is the cornerstone of the Bespoke Collection. The Bespoke Collection is currently comprised of three highly regarded wine projects: Blackbird Vineyards, ÆRENA Wines, and Recuerdo Wines. Bespoke Collection also includes ÆRENA Galleries & Gardens, which has three gallery locations and five sculpture gardens throughout Napa and Sonoma and represents an international roster of fine artists curated with an inventory of antiques and objects imported mainly from Europe. Michael created the world-renowned Ma(i)sonry Napa Valley in 2008 and sold it to RH in 2014. And, in 2019, Michael was part of the founding team and named CAO for The Vines, an explorers club and the first worldwide community dedicated to winemaking.
Michael has been a member of Festival Napa Valley’s Board of Directors since its inception in 2006. He also serves on the board of the Foundation for Global Arts, a U.S. nonprofit dedicated to fostering international understanding through the arts.