Our Company

Taste The Flavor of The World..

Our Story

JVS Imports was founded two decades ago when Sam Filmus and his family began importing and distributing wines from Eastern Europe.  The business then grew in two important directions. The first was the development of JVS as an importer with a national network of distributors for its products, and the second was the growth of JVS as a wholesaler in California.

Staying true to its roots, JVS offers a wide assortment of beers and wines from Eastern Europe, but Mr. Filmus and his lifelong friend and business partner Val Zhoglo have also cultivated a large (and growing!) portfolio  of brandy, mezcal, vodka, scotch, rum, as well as popular American Craft Spirits – always staying true to the goal of bringing unique and distinct tastes from around the world to the US.

We are a team of dedicated and passionate individuals that come together in harmony to bring our customers a quality product at a reasonable price.

The true testament of what allows us to thrive is the knowledge, dedication, and willingness that our team holds to bring awareness to the consumer and variety to the retailer.

Sam Filmus

Sam Filmus


Sam’s career in the beverage industry began more than two decades ago when he founded JVS. His dream was to bring a taste of his heritage to the United States in the form of wines indigenous to Eastern Europe. There lie the roots of JVS’ portfolio– having realized his dream, Sam did not stop there.  JVS has expanded to include beverage categories that meet the needs of both mainstream and more esoteric accounts.

Sam is especially passionate about whisky, which he imports through his other company ImpEx Beverages. Sam excels at building relationships with partners of all backgrounds in the industry, cultivating a community of enthusiasts and mutual support.

Sam is a notorious workaholic, but on the rare occasion that he has a weekend off, he enjoys relaxing with his wife, kids, and (believe it or not!) grandkids, as well as spending time outdoors with his new  Golden Retriever puppy, Chimney.

Read more about Sam in this interview with Piotr of Whisky My Life

Val Zhoglo

Val Zhoglo

Vice President

Val has been a part of JVS since 1999. It’s hard to believe that at one point, he couldn’t tell the difference between a Bourbon and a Scotch.  Now, having paid his dues in the industry, Val has become an expert on wines, beers and spirits.

When his mind isn’t on fine wines and spirits, he’s thinking about the next improvement he wants to make to his backyard, his next motorcycle road trip, or planning his upcoming sailing adventure. Some of his favorite destinations have been in Mexico, Australia, the Caribbean, the Polynesian Islands and Desolation Sound in Canada.

Summer-Jane Bell

Summer-Jane Bell

Northern California Sales Manager

Summer-Jane Bell’s twenty years experience across all three tiers of the hospitality and spirits industry
has developed a nuanced sales style built on forging strong relationships.

Managing cocktail bars informed how she marketed and launched craft spirits which led to the SF Bay Area Sales position with niche distributor JVS Imports in 2017.

Summer-Jane rose to a new challenge in 2024 by accepting the  role of Northern California Sales Manager where she can focus on training the future leaders selling the unique JVS portfolio and building awareness of these wonderful imports from around the world.

Annual professional judging with SF World Spirits Competition, American Distilling Institute, and Whiskies of the World sharpens her palate while teaching seminars at Tales of the Cocktail and fifteen years of volunteer leadership in the United States Bartenders’ Guild keeps her finger on the pulse of the ever evolving craft cocktail renaissance.

When Summer is not mentoring and selling the exciting JVS portfolio in Northern California, she’s traveling the world visiting bars, wineries, & distilleries –  and always, always, learning.


Zakai Arnowitz

Zakai Arnowitz

Territory Sales Representtive - San Francisco adn the North Bay

Zakai joined JVS Imports at the start of 2024 after 8+ years of working in product training and tasting room hospitality at some of America’s top craft distilleries. During that time, he also worked for several years in bars and restaurants.  Zakai says hes done just about every front-of-house job from host to bartender and he’s proud to have learned from the ground up.

Zakai is a Bay Area native with a passion for hospitality. He is most excited to share the quality work of craft Beer, Wine, and Spirit producers and to build lasting relationships with members of the industry.

In his free time, you will likely find Zakai cooking, spending time with friends and family, or listening to Tom Waits records.

Julie Caillat

Julie Caillat

Territory Sales Representative, North Bay

Julie joined JVS imports in 2023 after 4 year in the adult beverage industry.

Julie was born and raised in Bordeaux, France. At university, she studied Japanese, English, and wine & spirits.  While working in wine imports in Hiroshima, Japan, Julie tried a lot of local drinks and fell in love with Japanese spirits . She completed her sake sommelier education  and was hired at Kamoizumi shuzo in New Zealand in 2018 where she was in charge of the sales and marketing of a Japanese company beverages.

In 2019, Julie’s passion for high-quality beverages brought her to San Francisco, where she continues to expand her knowledge and share her love for craft spirits, wines, and sakés. 

Sarah Hardy

Sarah Hardy

Territory Sales Representative - South and East Bay

After 8 years working in the Oakland restaurant scene, Sarah brought her craft cocktail and hospitality experience into sales when she joined JVS at the end of 2023.

Sarah has a passion for learning about spirit history in a broader context along with the way it continues to connect us, our global understanding, and the way we dine today.

After working for years in agave & tropical bar programs, her thirst for knowledge continues to transform. For Sarah, it’s been a joy to help her community explore the lesser-known side of world whiskies as she  follows that path alongside them.

Equally intriguing to her is the ancient wine traditions that continue to shape the way we work in this industry today.

Ram Udwin

Ram Udwin

Southern CA Interim Sales Manager and San Diego Market Manager

Ram joined JVS Imports in 2019 as the San Diego Market Manager; an already stalwart figure in the San Diego bar community. 

Commencing in 2023, Ram stepped into an interim role as the Southern CA Sales Manager where his focus is on supporting the Southern CA team, growing the JVS name, and finding exciting ways to build even greater relationships with our wonderful customers and fans of our amazing brands.

Ram is the founder and owner of Boy Drinks World, San Diego’s own local cocktail bitters company.  He also created and produced the annual Bartender’s Battle at Tiki Oasis for 5 years showcasing Southern California’s bartending talent to the global Tiki community. 

He has been a bartender, a bar consultant, a bar manager, a casino floor supervisor, a project manager, and an Army Infantryman but he has found his home at JVS. 

When he isn’t showcasing the JVS portfolio Ram can be found riding his skateboard or surfing in the California sunshine. 

Tim Grimes

Tim Grimes

Sales Manager

Tim Grimes is a native from Los Alamos, New Mexico, but has been living in Los Angeles since 2006.

Tim joined JVS Imports in 2015 with over 10 years of bartender/ bar manager experience as the West LA Account Representative, covering territory from Maibu to Long Beach.

Tim loves what he does and is always happy to share new and exciting products and the stories behind them.  He ives with his wife and son in Long Beach, California so if you see him around town feel free to strike up a conversation.  It will be one you won’t forget.


Gerrit Carls

Gerrit Carls

Inland Empire & Orange County Sales Representative

Gerrit joined JVS in 2021 having been in the beverage industry since 2000.

With over 13 years sales experience he says he’s “excited to be working for a small business that’s in a position to help other small businesses”.

Gerrit is most passionate about whisk(e)y, simply put because after all “whisk(e)y is the water of life!”




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