Sharon Sevrens opened wine shop Amanti Vino, in Montclair, NJ in 2005 because she needed a life change.
She lived and worked in downtown Manhattan and couldn’t get back into her apartment for months after 9/11.
It was then that the Merrill Lynch investment banker decided to get the heck out.
Out of Manhattan and out of the banking world.
Wine had always been a hobby and it was time to make it a career. And while she has a B.S. and an M.B.A. from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, her new diplomas are from the Wine and Spirits Education Trust and the Sommelier Society of America.
Her shop is filled with bottles you probably never heard of because she is a huge advocate of all the “little winemakers” out there. So she’s “banking” on introducing them to her customers.
Oh and don’t be surprised if you see her dog chillin’ in the store – or on a wine label.
Read on to find out why.
1. Your wine selection is so eclectic. How do you find all these smaller producers?
I taste thousands of wines each year and only buy what I truly believe to be “best in class” for every given region, price point, varietal, etc. I don’t buy by ratings, because something is discounted or because it is a familiar name. In many cases, the wines come to me, either when the producers visit or from my distributors. I also have the pleasure of traveling to wine regions around the world a few times each year. [The wines I sell] are handcrafted and as a result, they are better for you and truly taste better than the big name competition.
2. What’s the coolest trend in wine you’re seeing right now?
More and more people are interested in boutique, artisanal, hand crafted wines. Customers want to know the story behind the wine. They are willing to try funky grape varietals from tiny wine regions and are more focused on experimenting than on buying the big brands.
3. What do you drink after a long day?
A beer! I love IPAs and Belgian beer in particular. But after that, I love lighter bodied reds like those from Burgundy the most.
4. If you could change one thing in the wine world, what would it be?
Lower alcohol! Given global warming, the tendency is for wines to be higher and higher in alcohol. I really find that if the alcohol creeps up, that cuts the finish shorter and may limit ageability.
5. We love that you bring your dog to work and have a him on a wine label? How did that start?
It really started because I couldn’t stand leaving him at home so he just came with me every day from day one. A couple years ago, Rufus really got tired so he cut back to working on Saturdays. We made our 10th anniversary wines [Cuvee Rufus Cotes Du Rhone 2013 or the Cuvee Rufus White Blend 2012] to honor him and customers responded so well! We had almost 100 potential labels submitted with Rufus’ picture on them. And the wines are selling really well too. About 6 months ago, Rufus started training his baby brother, Brody to be a store pup. Brody is a 2-year-old black lab and he is doing great! Rufus is enjoying his retirement at home.
Tracy Byrnes, former FOX Business Network anchor and host of “Wine with Me” for Foxnews.com, is editor-in-chief and chief contributor of The Sip.