Dimitri learned about wine making from his father in his native Greece. He attended engineering college and spent two years in the Navy before his sister persuaded him to join her in the United States in 1970. Once here, he began working at her pizza restaurant in Centerville, Iowa. This is where he met his wife Kathy, while also attending Truman State University where he earned degrees in accounting and business. After graduation, Dimitri and Kathy moved to the Quad Cities where he took a position as a comptroller for a local wine and spirits business. Dimitri showed his leadership and strong will by working beyond his assigned role and learned to order merchandise, drive a fork lift, keep accurate inventory, and handle unexpected emergencies such as rescuing a freezing truckload of beer by hauling a heater from the snowbound warehouse on a toboggan to keep the truck warm. In 1984, Dimitri started his own fine wine and beer distribution company – Dimitri Wine and Spirits – which is still thriving in the Quad Cities 25 years later.
Dimitri’s leadership is easily identifiable by looking at the long list of local organizations that he assists. Throughout his 25 years as proprietor of Dimitri Wine and Spirits, Dimitri has adamantly supported local organizations through his love of wine by serving on boards, donating wine and beer for tastings, and participating in local fundraisers at all different levels. A quick count by his wife finds that he has supported more than 40 local organizations through dollars, involvement, and board membership. Organizations such as the Boy Scouts, CASI, Festival of Trees, Habitat for Humanity, Quad City Symphony Orchestra, Rock Island Library, Rock Island Park Board, Niabi Zoo, St. George Greek Orthodox Church, the Father Bader Scholarship Fund at St. Pius, Parrot Head Club, Multiple Sclerosis Society, WQPT, Scott County Family Y, and many others have all benefited from Dimitri’s willingness to help meet the needs of Quad Cities residents.
As one of the founders of the St. Ambrose University Wine Festival, he has helped to raise more than $700,000 for student scholarships at St. Ambrose in the past nine years. This event and the dollars raised simply would not be possible without Dimitri’s participation and vigor--even though he won't admit it! His leadership and support are the driving forces behind this event as he works each year with a volunteer, community-driven committee to raise funds for an important cause that attracts nearly 800 people to campus. He has inspired many others to join in this effort, as well as helping others to create similar efforts through complimentary events. The Wine Festival has grown from a $25,000 a year fundraiser to a three-event, $100,000 a year fundraiser under his humble leadership. For one of those events, Dimitri opens his warehouse for an afternoon of casual wine tasting.