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Every winery we work with is directly connected to the communities we serve – that’s why Grassroots is compelled to build meaningful and profitable relationships between our producers, our team, and our customers. Want to work with us? Get started.

Founded by Nicki and Harry Root in 2003, Grassroots Wine has grown one of the finest portfolios of wine available in the Southeast’s most exciting markets.

We’re forever drawn to wine’s innate sense of community – both the way it’s produced and the way it’s enjoyed. This has shaped the Grassroots philosophy since our founding – we believe it’s our role is to build a bridge between outstanding, adventurous wine producers and the thoughtful, discerning wine drinkers in our markets.

Grassroots is distinctive because we provide exceptional programming for our customers, thus continuing to build meaningful relationships between our producers and our community. Our complimentary educational trade events are an investment in our community at large, conveying winemakers’ passion with every sip.

South Carolina Staff

Harry Root

President

Born in Tampa and raised in Sewanee, Tennessee, Harry got his start in the wine business in 2000 by opening a wine shop in Chattanooga. Harry’s been known to fly across the country for a round of golf or a good karaoke party (go-to songs: “Brandy” by Looking Glass or Lionel Richie’s “All Night Long”). Harry currently serves on the Boards of The Southern Foodways Alliance, Charleston Wine and Food Festival, St. Andrew’s-Sewanee School, and BevCon.

Nicki Root

COO

Born and raised in St. Louis, Missouri, Nicki began her adventures in life with Harry in 1993. When not managing all-things-Grassroots, Nicki enjoys spending time with the Root kids and animals. Nicki is also a champion bocce player, so you’ll want to be on her team if given the chance. If not, she has no mercy. Nicki serves on the Board of Lowcountry Local First.

John David Harmon

SC Sales Manager

Born in Atlanta, Georgia, John David was brought up on the mean streets of Greenwood, South Carolina. His first sip of wine was from a glass of Taittinger at age five on New Year’s Eve, but he got into the professional wine game in 1999 while writing a wine column in Barcelona. In addition to his love of wine, John David’s has yet to meet a sheep’s milk cheese that he didn’t like.

Matt McKeown

General Manager

Born in Manhattan and raised in north Jersey, Matt lived out west for 6 years before transplanting to the South in 1998. Raised in the restaurant business, Matt grew passionate about fine dining.  He was Sommelier certified in 2002 while managing the illustrious McCrady’s Wine Bar in Charleston.  Matt is catching waves as much as possible and is constantly trying to keep up with his twin sons.  His beautiful wife will tell you, he can’t sing, but he sure can dance.

Marie Stitt

Portfolio Manager, Imports

Originally from Alabama, Marie grew up in Charleston. After working harvests in Napa and Austria, Marie studied sustainable food systems in Italy. She then made her way back to Charleston and joined Grassroots in 2012. Marie is the shortest member of the Grassroots team, but is thus far its most accomplished hand-stander. Marie is on the advisory board of BevCon and is a member of Les Dames d’Escoffier.

Liz Hale

Spain/Portugal Portfolio Manager and Sales, Midlands

Liz has lived in Florida, Georgia, South Carolina and Mississippi – her mother says she is “professionally Southern.” After working in food and beverage for over 18 years, she decided to switch gears and pursue a career in wine, and boy is she glad she did. This former debutante’s favorite band is Bass Drum of Death.

Ben Sharkey

Sales, Charleston

Hailing from Atlanta, Georgia, Ben found his passion for food and wine while working at McCrady’s restaurant while attending College of Charleston. After graduating with a degree in economics, Ben realized that a career in finance was not for him. His next stop was a fortuitous stint at FIG restaurant, which reinforced his love of wine and led him to Grassroots. Ben lives in downtown Charleston with his wife, Melanie, and son, Brian.

Mikaela Greenburg

Sales, Charleston

Mikaela’s first job was working the takeout counter at a hometown serving coffee and muffins, and at the University of Massachusetts Amherst she studied Culinary Arts and Hospitality Management. After working in restaurants, eventually transitioning to wine sales in the Boston area. Too many cold winters and one weekend trip to Charleston had her packing her bags, making Grassroots her new home.

Tom Semans

Sales, Hilton Head/Beaufort

After two decades working behind the scenes in the performing arts between Phoenix, Boston and Atlanta, Tom traded in cross-county gigs for the South Carolina Lowcountry. Dark theatres were replaced by dolphin-chasing kayak tours by day and bartending at night. After a decade as head bartender and dining room manager at a prestigious private club, Tom joined Grassroots in 2013.

Shannon Lewis

Sales, Rock Hill/Fort Mill

Shannon grew up in Tampa, Florida, and traveled up and down the East Coast, finally settling in Charlotte, North Carolina, where she lives her husband, Matt, and their pet, Lola. Together, they enjoy entertaining and eating great food.

Candace Foster

Sales, Aiken/North Augusta

Austin Benoit

Sales, Greenville

A product of the modern corporate household, Austin grew up in 5 states before landing in South Carolina. After graduating with a Hospitality degree from College of Charleston and working in local restaurants, he packed his bags and moved on a whim to Hawaii. It was in Hawaii where he got his first break as a wine rep and there was no looking back. Now settled in Greenville with his wife and overly spoiled dog, Austin enjoys the outdoors, good music, and any excuse to travel.

Jake Smith

North Coast SC Sales

Born and raised in Memphis, Jake first got into the wine trade simply because it was the family business, working at his family’s store at age 17, then joining a distributor right out of college.  When he isn’t selling wine, you can find Jake buried in a book, writing poems and short fiction, or loudly complaining about his sports teams.

 

Kate Herron

Sales, Charleston/Kiawah

As a child, Kate was carted all over the world, instilling a love of travel and adventure…. but she always called Charleston home. After moving several times here, there and everywhere, Kate returned home, deciding there are few places quite like it.  She joined Grassroots to pursue her love of wine after several years as part of the FIG restaurant team.  She and her fiancé’ spend any and all free time working on their home and planning their next trip!

Mary Clarey

Warehouse Manager

Born in Phoenix, Arizona, and raised in Charleston, South Carolina, Mary is used to heat, but she’s most at home on the water, fishing. She is another fellow karaoke party attendee and her go-to tune is “Proud Mary” by Tina Turner.

Kevin Hughes

Warehouse Supervisor

Marina Bundy

Administrative Assistant

A Sewanee grad, Marina originally hails from North Carolina where she developed her love of cooking, traveling and photography. On any given weekend you can find her trying a new restaurant in Charleston, spending time on the beach with friends or enjoying live music.

Alabama Staff

Jonathan Thomas

AL GM, California Portfolio Manager

Jonathan began working in Birmingham’s fine dining scene in the mid 90s. After a stint as a brewer in Lyons, Colorado, he returned to Birmingham to the same great restaurants, with a greater understanding of fermented beverages. He has been in the food/wine/beer industry his whole working life – and recently added “father” to his ongoing roles. JT, as most people know him, loves music, food, wine and his family.

Patrick Sizemore

Alabama Sales Manager, Birmingham

Born and raised in Birmingham, Alabama, Patrick was introduced to the wine world while working for Frank Stitt at Chez Fon Fon. He started at Grassroots in 2006. When he isn’t slinging wine, he’s spending time with his wife, Meg, and son, Miles, and every now and then gets to bang on the drums.

John Vanover

Operations Manager

Born in Santa Cruz, California, and raised in Lutts, Tennessee, John settled in Birmingham, Alabama in 2004. John’s happy place is riding one of his motorcycles, woodworking and watching live music. Oh, and he is easily excited by the phrases “fish-fry” and “whole-hog barbecue.”

Jovan Bolden

Warehouse Supervisor

Born in Mobile, Alabama, and raised in Birmingham, Jovan started working for Grassroots in 2012. Aside from his dedication to the company, Jovan is similarly dedicated to football, and got the memorable chance to meet Cam Newton at Auburn. When he’s not at work, he spends time with family, grills outdoors or relaxes with video games.

Beth Farris

Sales, Huntsville

Born and raised in Huntsville, Alabama, Beth got into the wine business in 2003, immediately after college. She worked at a local wine shop until 2012, when she joined the Grassroots family. A vegetarian (except for an occasional sushi night), Beth loves horror films, reading, vinyl records, going on morning runs, and her cat, Ash.

Mike Goldstein

Sales, Birmingham

A native of Los Angeles, Mike’s been a naturalized citizen of the great state of Alabama since 1992. He spent most of the time since his arrival learning the finer points of wine and food service at Bottega and Highlands Bar and Grill. Feel free to discuss Dodger baseball or loud music with him any old time.

Kimberleigh Kelly

Sales, Mobile

Born and raised in Fairhope, Alabama, Kimberleigh started with Grassroots in 2008 but left us briefly to serve in the United States Army. Upon her return, she came back to work as our Sales Representative for Mobile and Baldwin County. Don’t be alarmed if you catch her sabering a bottle of Champagne​ on a Wednesday afternoon – she doesn’t believe in finding excuses to drink bubbles.

Meg Gilpin

Sales, Birmingham/Tuscaloosa

Meg was born and raised in Alabama, attended the University of Alabama and then went to culinary school. She’s worked in many restaurants as well as wine retail before making the jump to becoming a wine wholesale sales rep with Grassroots. Married with two beautiful little girls, Meg and her husband and plan their vacations around food and wine.

Trent Stewart

Sales, Birmingham/Anniston/Gadsden

Lana Jackson

Sales, Montgomery

Born and raised in Albertville, Alabama, Lana received her degree from Auburn in 2008. After graduating, Lana worked as a restaurant manager over the next few years before starting her career as a wine representative in 2016. She enjoys attending a good live sports game, counting the Atlanta Falcons and Braves as favorite teams.  

Suzanne Knight

Office Manager

Suzanne is originally from Greenville, South Carolina, and has lived in Birmingham, Alabama, for nearly 20 years. She was married in Napa Valley in 2001, where she caught the wine bug. After owning and operating a wine shop in Birmingham from 2003 to 2006, she joined the Grassroots team.

Patrick Riley

Administrative Assistant

Alabama born and bred, Patrick got his first taste of the wine business while working at a couple of well-known specialty grocery stores in the Birmingham area. After a short time living in New York City and Philadelphia, he moved back to Alabama and joined the Grassroots team.

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From farms, not factories, since 2003

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