After a career in technology, Matt Grove decided to focus on his love of food and wine instead. Matt co-founded Dakota Organic, the first organic beef company in the United States, in 2001, grew the company to $40MM in sales before acquisition. Matt entered the wine industry in 2013, as owner of Eighth Wonder Wines, a retail wine portfolio produced in Stellenbosch, South Africa. After importing South African wines to the United States for years, Matt decided he wanted to create a wine to honor his aunt, Dr. Marilyn Schultz, for her courage in filing, leading, and winning the first major class action lawsuit for pay and opportunity equality for women in the workplace. Initially, Matt planned a limited release, “Marilyn Chardonnay” as a tribute, but his friends challenged him to think bigger.
Then Jim Obergefell made the news, Matt reached out to Jim with an idea and Equality Wines was born.
Jim Obergefell’s last name has become shorthand for a landmark Supreme Court civil rights case. Jim’s partner of more than 20 years, John Arthur, was dying of ALS when the Supreme Court struck down the Defense of Marriage Act in June, 2013. Jim spontaneously proposed following that decision, leading to their marriage inside a chartered medical jet on the tarmac of a Maryland airport. When they learned that their home state of Ohio would not recognize their lawful marriage on John’s death certificate when he died, they decided to sue Ohio. Their case made its way to the United States Supreme Court where, on June 26, 2015, that court brought marriage equality to all 50 states with their decision in Obergefell v. Hodges. Jim continues his activist work as a board member for various LGBTQ+ organizations and speaks across the nation about LGBTQ+ equality and his experience as a named plaintiff. Jim co-authored the book Love Wins: The Lovers and Lawyers who Fought the Landmark Case for Marriage Equality with Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Debbie Cenziper, published by William Morrow/Harper Collins.
This ruling is a victory for America. This ruling affirms what millions of Americans believe in their hearts: when all Americans are treated as equal we are more free… love is love.