Behind every great company is a team of unique and talented individuals and we’d like to introduce you to ours. Every week, we’ll be posting some fun tidbits about a member of a staff to help you become better acquainted with the Grassroots Wine team. This week we chose Jake Smith, one of our Charleston Sales Representatives.
What is your role at Grassroots Wine?
To put it simply – I’m a salesman. It’s my job to sell wine. But more than that, I see my job as working to make connections across the whole spectrum of people who love and appreciate wine – farmers, winemakers, sommeliers, shopkeepers, bartenders, and consumers. If I can make the world a little smaller and draw these far-flung individuals closer together – all united by their passion for wine and everything that comes with it – then I feel like I’m living up to a higher purpose than just flipping pallets for a profit. It’s that mission that gets me out of bed in the morning.
Where are you from?
Memphis, TN. If you haven’t already heard me say that like 1000 times. I love Charleston and all the I’ve spent out here, but Memphis will always be home for me. If you’ve never spent some time in the Bluff City, you owe it to yourself to go check it out. It’s a great place to eat, drink, listen to some music, and get weird.
What is your professional background?
Aside from a brief stint working in a bookstore when I was in high school, I’ve always been in the wine industry. My whole family – mom, dad, and sister – are in the business as well, and I grew up hanging out and helping out in liquor stores. I often joke that I really don’t understand how people make money doing anything other than selling booze.
What is your favorite part of working at Grassroots?
It’s got to be my colleagues. I’m working with the smartest, coolest, and most driven people I’ve ever met in the industry, and every day, we hit the streets to sell some of the best wines in the whole world. What’s better than that?
What are you currently drinking?
Anything that is cheap, aromatic, light, clean, French, and white – possibly my favorite category of wine in the whole world. Picpoul de Pinet, Muscadet, Loire Chenin, and Aligote have been in pretty heavy rotation, along with some serious Chardonnay cravings I’ve been having lately. But my last purchase was heavy on Vinho Verde; Quinta de Aveleda is one of the best bargains we have in the whole portfolio, and it’s at the perfect ABV level for some summer weekend day-drinking.
What do you do in your spare time?
I’ve always had a great love for the arts and humanities, so I always need to be working on something creative to keep my sanity. Whether that’s playing guitar, writing songs or poems, working my way through a stack of books, or halfheartedly working on some Great American Novel, I find that those little releases of creative energy really help keep me balanced and grounded.
What are three traits you would use to describe yourself?
If I had to narrow myself down to three defining characteristics, I’d have to say that they are my empathy, my spirituality, and my sense of humor. Being connected to the world and to the people who surround me is fundamental to who I am, and working in the wine industry – a field that connects people all across the world in a deeply personal way – satisfies that need for me.
If you were a type of wine, what would you be?
Good lord, what a hard question to answer! I think we’d all like to be Champagne – classy, bubbly, elegant, and everybody’s favorite at a party. But if I’m being honest, I think I’d have to say that I’m a Cote-Rotie – deep, earthy, occasionally pretty dark, soulful, and sometimes a little stinky.