Select a team member to view their bio:
- Ronnie Sanders
- Lori Sanders
- Kelly Rigg
- Ann Himelright
- Ryan Davis
- Aaron Meeker
- Mike Murray
- James Nolan
- Danielle Tersigni-Stevens
- Pete Gonzalez
- Dana Scarantino
Ronnie Sanders' gifted palate and visionary spirit has made Vine Street Imports a flourishing presence, since its debut in 1999. Sanders, born and raised in South Jersey, acquired a passion for fine wine at a young age. Although Sanders' love for wine was apparent early, his career in wine importing was not immediate.
Sanders attended the University of Hartford in Connecticut, completing his studies with a Bachelor of Arts in business. Upon graduating, he worked with Materials International, a family-owned textile importing company. In the mid 1990s Sanders began exporting California wines, and ambitiously formed Far East Wine Traders, exporting wines to numerous regions of Asia where he purchased fabric, including Hong Kong, Taiwan, Singapore, and Malaysia.
While exporting wines from the United States, Sanders' dream of importing rare wines became a reality through a newly formed partnership with Michael Twelftree of Two Hands Wines in Australia. Their collaboration was a leisure pursuit until Sanders began working for Vine Street Imports. His goal of importing and distributing wines from the emerging regions of Washington State, New Zealand, and Australia, was the driving force behind creating the Vine Street Imports brand.
Much of Sanders' expertise is attributed to his dedicated travels all over the world and his commitment to discovering the finest wines. His ventures have included trips to Italy, France, India, Australia, Spain, Portugal, Germany, Austria, Malaysia and the entire United States. Sanders both conceived and launched a private wine label known as the Lost Highway Project, with Parker scores ranging from 93-96. When selecting which wines to carry on this label, Sanders considers maturation and blending as well as the discovery of the finest wines for the connoisseur, expert enthusiast and novice
Chief Financial and Operating Officer
Lori Sanders has spent her career in finance and business management. It was that experience, coupled with entrepreneurial desire, that led her to the helm of finance and operations for Vine Street Imports.
Upon graduating from the University of Pennsylvania with a degree in Economics, Lori began her career in finance at the First Pennsylvania Bank in the Corporate Banking department. She worked as a commercial officer, facilitating the financing of healthcare companies in the region. Gaining experience and knowledge of the investment-banking arena, she moved on to work in the Corporate Finance department at CoreStates. It was at CoreStates that Lori confirmed her skills as a financial expert and as a proficient writer. She authored and produced an internal weekly financial newsletter for all CoreStates employees.
In 1994, Lori, along with her brother Ronnie, joined forces to run their family-owned textile business, Materials International. During her 10-year tenure, Lori managed the daily financial operations of the company and negotiated an $18 million financing deal. In addition to negotiating investment and financial transactions, she supervised yearly sales of over $50 million for Materials International.
In 2003, Lori Sanders continued the business relationship with her brother in an emergent company, Vine Street Imports. Since that time VSI has grown into a nationally known and recognized force in the US wine market. VSI's success began by discovering distinct brands from emerging winemakers and has expanded and prospered through the corporate and financial strategy of Lori Sanders.
Kelly joined the Sanders family in 1997 as a member of their textile importing business, Materials International. Where she managed logistics and bookkeeping. She has worked in the same capacity at Vine Street Imports since 2003.
Ann is cool...and deceptively funny...and likes classic rock.
Most importantly she can count correctly and has learned the antiquated software quickly.
Jetstream Regional Manager - Midwest/Mid-Atlantic/PacNW and Ok
Ryan grew up in New Jersey and attended Rutgers University. His interest in food then led him to The Culinary Institute of America, where he earned a Bachelors Degree in Culinary Arts Management. After spending time working in vineyards in New York, Oregon and California, as well as Corbières, France, Ryan realized that wine was his true passion. He continued his pursuits with the American Sommelier Association and the Court of Master Sommeliers, and obtained his certification through the Court. He was recognized by La Chaîne des Rôtisseurs as the Midatlantic Region Best Young Sommelier in 2010. While running daily restaurant operations and beverage programs in Connecticut Ryan was introduced to the Vine Street book. When he moved to Philadelphia in 2006, Ryan worked extensively the Vine Street portfolio while running the multi-unit beverage programs for one of the city's premiere chefs. This high volume on-premise experience gives Ryan a unique perspective to add to the Vine Street team. Ryan is excited to now be handling Midwest Regional Sales for VSI. In his free time Ryan is an triathlete, cyclist and marathon runner and volunteers for a number of local charities.
"Sea to Shining Sea" Regional Manager - Northeast+TX+IL+AK
Fascination with wine - It didn't quite start in the womb, but definitely at a young age. From not fully divulging his age (like Latin American baseball players) and waiting tables fine dining at 15 to being probably the only Jewish kid at Oral Roberts University (and definitely the only one in the wine biz)…the quest for the grape has been one of ebbs and flows.
Aaron graduated from ORU (wee bit conservative Christian school in Tulsa, OK) while amassing a small wine collection (which was certainly forbidden and after spending 40 days and 40 nights consecutively writing 'water into wine not wine into water,' he finally understood the rules of the school. Aaron's first job out of undergrad was working for Octagon, an international mega-conglomerate of sports and entertainment marketing, athlete representation and event management. While waking up at 4am after heavy boozing the night before and slamming stakes into the ground and meshing porta-potties with his favorite Jamaican friends seemed fun, it grew tiresome to say the least. Handling the sports marketing dollars for large companies was always a goal but was certainly not a passion.
He was relocated from NYC/SW Connecticut back to Oklahoma where he eventually transitioned back into the F&B world. Handling the wine list for world-renowned Southern Hills Country Club was a great experience. Pawning Gruner Veltliner and Rebo off for KJ Chard and Blackstone Merlot made for some interesting conversations with the membership. The end result produced a rocking wine list for a conservative country club. Sales and margins increased and everyone was happy. Working nearly every day and night took its toll and change was on the horizon.
A call from one Larry David Fleming, owner of LDF Sales & Distribution (VSI's KS Distributor) came and a new challenge was thus born. Taking a Coors/Miller distributor in Kansas to the land of fermented grape juice! Aaron would not compromise his vision for fine wine in the Sunflower State. The journey began with a phone call to Ronnie Sanders about representation in KS and would continue with selling great wines like Lopez de Heredia, Peay, BOND Estates, Littorai, Vilmart, Pingus, etc. Aaron realized that his passion for wine was consuming all of him and tasting and learning more was a necessity.
The next chapter was written in January of 2012 with a transition to schlepping killer booze for VSI…
Western Regional Sales Manager
This is gonna' be a good one... Took 9 months to write a bio for this burnt orange wearing lad, but here we go.
Mike 'Murph' Murray was born to hobbits in Wichita, Kansas. He got his 'wine fix' at an early age being raised in the only Catholic church in south central Kansas. As an all-star altar boy, Murph was able to get first and last dibs on the sacramental wine. Disgusted by the quality, actually lack of quality, he sought out a new source for the Eucharist. Visiting renowned regions like the Ohio River Valley, Texas Hill Country, Augusta he gained a new appreciation for the quality the church had to offer.
Mike graduated high school and set sights on greener pastures at Wichita State University. Here he found that beer had a similar effect as wine and proceeded to enjoy the fruits of beer. College was a blur and while still in Wichita, Murph went to work in the family's business (will go unnamed to protect the innocent) for a number of years. It was at this point that he discovered wine regions beyond the aforementioned and vineyards like Rabaja, Perrieres, To Kalon, and Niederhäuser Hermannshöhle.
Murray left the family's nest, all the while staying in the ICT, and became a rockstar/pornstar/star sales person for an anonymous wine distributorship in KS absolutely crushing the competition. His new found love of the grape, cocktail and great food (actually had the latter in place) rubbed off on the Wichita market and beyond and the hard work he put in was evident by wine lists and retail shops selling 'real' wine.
After a number of years slaughtering the distributorship competition, Mike was the WBC, IBF, WBA, WBO champion and had no other belts to win. He was looking for the next chapter and rather than pursuing MMA, he sought the challenge of helping rebuild the Australian wine category nationally. His thought was prior to getting in the wine biz in KS, the folks were drinking Blue Nun and Blackstone and when he was through they were rattling off the Grand Crus of Chablis and blind tasting Erdener Treppchen vs. Ürziger Würzgarten. He was actually pretty good at this game.
Now Murph still lives in Wichita with his adopted lover (ehr, dog and companion) Carlos. He has a sick infatuation with the Texas Longhorns (see picture below - what is not pictured is that he is actually posing with Kevin Durant...yes, the real KD at the OU/Texas game). He is a huge asset to the team at VSI and he will be tearing up towns in the West for the foreseeable future.
Jim Nolan is a recent addition to Vine Street Imports. Before coming to work at VSI, Jim developed a background in wine while working for nine years at Joe Canal’s Discount Liquor Outlet in Marlton, New Jersey. Jim is a graduate from Rutgers University School of Business, with a B.S. in Marketing. He was born and raised in Delran, New Jersey, and currently resides in South Jersey.
Danielle Tersigni-Stevens recently returned to Philadelphia after 7 years of wine experience in Boston. She has rejoined VSI where she was the first full-time sales representative for VSI from 2002 through 2004 and is thrilled to be back. Danielle has deep wine experience in French, Italian, California, Washington, Oregon, Australia and other wine regions. She has represented a wide variety of portfolios, including Leonardo LoCascio, Becky Wasserman, Jorge Ordonez portfolio and worked with Capital Wine and Spirits, Berkshire Wine Company, Boston Wine Company/Winebow, and Oz Wine Company. Danielle attended Widener University for hospitality management. In her free time, Danielle enjoys spending time with her husband and daughter.
New Jersey Sales - South
Pete was born and raised in the heart of South Jersey, the city of Millville. He was first introduced into the wine industry during his freshmen year at the Richard Stockton College of New Jersey studying Accounting and Criminal Justice when he was employed at Shop-Rite Liquors as a store associate. Over the next two years, he educated himself about the different wine countries, regions, varietals as well as the day to day operations as a retailer. Shop-Rite changed ownership and became a Buy-Rite and Pete quickly realized his calling. He was appointed a managerial position. He then took is experience and knowledge to Cherry Hill working for Buy-Rite then Wine Legend.
In 2003, Pete was recruited by R&R Marketing where he was employed for 10 years. While with R&R, Pete's enthusiasm for wine evolved as he visited wineries throughout California, Oregon, Idaho, Italy and France. After resigning from R&R, he spent a few years in the Health Care industry before moving back to New Jersey. His endless desire to taste and educate consumers/retailers about boutique wines found him back in New Jersey with Vine St Imports.
New Jersey Sales - North
Dana Scarantino is a new addition to Vine Street Imports, and on the new side to the industry. After graduating from Rider University with a degree in Environmental Science, Dana put her treehugging to use by working year round as an Environmental Educator at Camp Speers-Eljabar YMCA in Pennsylvania, where she’d spent many summers before as a camper and summer camp counselor. Staying in the Y, Dana spent the next six plus years as Youth & Family Director at the Somerville Family YMCA in Somerville NJ, running Day Camp, After School, and Youth Programs. Though she loved working for such a great community organization, Dana wanted to bring her energy and enthusiasm to a new career path, and followed her passion for wine to Tomasello Winery working as a manufacturer’s representative.
Dana is so excited to be joining the Vine Street Imports team, to continue learning about wine, and to build great relationships within the industry in North Jersey and beyond. Dana currently lives in Hoboken and loves it! She also loves all things nature, spending time with her friends and family especially her adorable goddaughter Sammie, rooting for the Devils and the Mets, and all kinds of adventures. Cheers!