Select a team member to view their bio:
- Ronnie Sanders
- Lori Sanders
- Ann Himelright
- Amanda Marrocco
- Kathy Wilson
- Brian Jewell
- Aaron Meeker
- Mike Murray
- James Nolan
- Danielle Tersigni-Stevens
- Pete Gonzalez
- Andrew Matarese
- Erin Miller
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.
Ann is cool...and deceptively funny...and likes classic rock.
Most importantly she can count correctly and has learned the antiquated software quickly.
Amanda is the accounting assistant at Vine Street Imports. She is a life-long South Jersey resident and award winning alcohol enthusiast. Her experience in customer service, smiling and excruciating wit make her an asset to the team. In her free time, she enjoys gardening, kayaking, camping, Netflix and scenic walks with her husband and their Pomeranian, Kesha.
Kathy has recently come to Vine Street as our new Inventory Control Manager. Possessing more than 15 years of experience in food distribution, it was her unrelenting passion, enthusiasm and success in selling extensive product lines for dozens of manufacturers that caught the eye of Sysco Foods in Pokomoke, MD, who was
able to steal Kathy away from the brokering business.
Following 5 years in broad-line food distribution sales, Kathy then challenged herself with specialty food distribution. This role brought her out from behind the wheel and into the office, developing a program whereby specialty foods were redistributed to Sysco Foods in Philadelphia. That program grew from a few cases a week to hundreds of cases weekly just by Kathy educating salespeople in specialty foods, organizing food shows and
manufacturer demo's, and eventually purchasing products direct from the manufacturer. Her latest challenge was in the seafood business - hired by Samuels & Son Seafood in Philadelphia, the largest seafood distributor
in the mid-Atlantic. In the position of Regional Sales Manager, Kathy was all over the Tri-State area.
Finally, after more than 500,000 miles driven in her sales & marketing career, she is incredibly
excited to find a home at Vine Street Imports and share her past experiences in her exciting new world of wines & spirits! In her spare time, Kathy and her husband Jason, who reside in South Jersey, enjoy dining out, but mostly cooking at home. (Kathy fashions herself as the next Top Chef Home Cook). They also enjoy laughing at everything, fighting over the remote for ESPN or the Food Network, going to concerts or Phillies' games, spending time with their families, vacationing in beautiful Saratoga Springs NY, and making bets during football season as to whether her beloved NY Giants will beat his Philadelphia Eagles!!
Midwest Regional Sales Manager
Still waiting on this as patiently as Kansas City Royals fans waited on a World Series championship - hopefully it's not 30 years...
Well, a week before opening day 2016, Brian wrote this:
"At a young age Brian had one passion in life and it was the same passion of every teenager who’s ever played in a rock band, to forget normal life and make it big. Luckily he was also a realist and kept focused on his college education all while rocking out to dorm parties, summer festivals and good old fashioned bar gigs. Soon after hitting legal drinking age he discovered his newest passion, wine, all while binge watching the first seasons of The Sopranos. It started small and cheap with nothing to guide him except the biggest sale tags at his local grocer. Finally after college, Brian took his interest for wine and walked into a fine wine shop in Kansas City to get exposure to better wines, and oddly enough shopping that day turned into a job interview the next. That’s all it took to reel him in completely. After spending some time as a retail buyer an opportunity to work at the hottest wine bar in the city opened up and what better way to accompany his relentless pursuit of stardom in the music world than working a job where you make your own hours. Over time though adulthood got the best of Brian and slowly he transitioned from the night walking, party hopping, drum rocking lifestyle into a good old fashioned corporate wine distributor job, where all three of those parts of his “normality” took a smaller role. This was not the end vision for Brian though, as he knew the minute he first started meeting wine suppliers as a retail buyer that that was where he wanted to take his wine career. Finally after three years schlepping wine on the streets of Kansas City to some of the best retail shops and restauranteurs, Brian snatched up the opportunity to not only work for one of the most exciting importers in the market, but to also team back up with longtime friend and wine smasher, Aaron Meeker. While the drumsticks have taken a back seat, they new journey will never completely smother his love of making music; it just happens on a steering wheel or tray table a lot more now."
Obviously the third person perspective enhances Brian's level of importance :)
Eastern Seaboard Regional Sales Manager + 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 - Northwest
Andrew earned his Bachelor of Arts in Government from Connecticut College and completed coursework at New York University. Inspired by his passion for wine and travels to vineyards all over the world, he gained valuable experience working with customers at boutique wine stores during his summer breaks from college. After college, Andrew studied wine production and the sommelier profession at the International Wine Center and earned his Advanced WSET Diploma. He began working at Vine Street Imports in 2015 and is currently a licensed sales associate in New Jersey.
Andrew has a strong enthusiasm toward learning about wine. He has been to many of the great wines regions of the world including Napa, Bordeaux, Burgundy, Tuscany, Mendoza, Maipo Valley and Stellenbosch.
Philadelphia - South New Jersey Sales
Erin grew up in what was a converted little white church in the middle of rural central new jersey (the actual 'garden state' piece). While counting the sheep and helping out at local businesses, an old, dilapidated restaurant began to be rebuilt just a 1/4 mile down the road from the little white church. Every week, trying to get the attention of whoever was inside, she knocked on the door until they begrudgingly offered her pushy, 15 year-old self, a busser position. Working in a restaurant for the first time was not necessarily glamorous, but granted the opportunity to see how it all worked. A couple years later it was on to college in Philadelphia for Graphic Design. Finding a job in the city, working for 'the man' of the restaurant scene back in the early 2000's, decided she was actually kind of enjoying this fast-paced craziness that people called Hospitality. After deciding art was more a hobby than a career path, Erin found herself studying Hospitality. It wasn't until a couple years after graduation that Erin took her first wine class in the city with the famed Neal Ewing. From there it was game on. A year later, deciding to pick up and move to the wonderful little city of Napa (more accurately, a farming town) she met many amazing California winemakers and grape-growers, but decided she was much more 'East Coast'. Moving back to the homeland in NJ was a tough choice, but landing a gig with a gigantic cellar, moving boxes for a year and working her way up to sommelier, made it all worth the transition. Then it was back to Philly for more restaurant management. Feeling more at home, but somewhat unfulfilled in terms of wine immersion, landed Erin in the hands of VSI. She now spends her time listening to podcasts like a big nerd, riding her road bike many, many miles each weekend, cheering on the Phillies and catching up with the city life once again!