Why Amanti Vino is a Top 100 Retailer

Amanti Vino Montclair new jersey top 100 retailer beverage dynamics wine
Amanti Vino in Montclair, NJ.

Seventeen years ago, Sharon Sevrens started Amanti Vino in New Jersey. In an effort to find joy while burned out on her investment banking day job, Sevrens started taking wine classes, and eventually started teaching them herself.

In 2005, a liquor license became available in Montclair, NJ, so she bought it. “The perfect location,” she says, presented itself shortly thereafter.

Sevrens opened in the fall of that year, and within six months outgrew the location. She doubled its size by taking over the space next door when it became vacant; then, five years ago, she was approached about an opportunity in Morristown.


To this day, she says, teaching is one of the best parts of being proprietor at Amanti, which has locations in Montclair and Morristown, NJ.

“We have a private classroom to provide wine education,” she says. “I love to teach — there’s nothing more fun to me.” Sevrens offers Saturday afternoon classes every couple of weeks, usually around a theme. Sometimes she brings in guest winemakers or importers. She also provides professional wine education for anyone on her team who wants it.


Customers have “countless” tasting opportunities, Sevrens says. Every Saturday, they open three or four bottles for people to try. “Some days, we focus on value wines, and other days on cult collectibles,” she adds. “Nothing is off limits.”

Amanti focuses on boutique, artisanal wines. Sevrens encourages her customers to try anything they like. “While we have nothing against the big producers,” she says, “we find that artisanal, hand-made wines taste better, cost less and are interesting to discuss.” Sevrens estimates she tastes thousands of bottles a year to choose the inventory for the store. And, adding another location is always on her radar if it makes sense.

“The governor is talking about changing how licenses are granted,” she says. “There’s been no movement in this area for a long time.”

Amanti has been awarded Best of Essex by Suburban Essex magazine for the past eight years, and was named in Wine Enthusiast’s “50 Best Retailers” list. Its Burgundy section also won a gold medal from SevenFifty. Her 10-strong staff of long-serving employees also knows — and loves — wine.

She has four part-time employees and seven managers, and says her store’s biggest accomplishment in the past 12 months was being listed as the best wine store in New Jersey in an article on the website Eat This, Not That.

One of the many reasons Sevrens likes hand-made wines for her store are the stories behind them, which she also readily shares with her staff so they can pass those tales onto curious customers.

Reflecting on Covid, Sevrens says the store took the good with the bad. The Montclair location was more established when Covid happened, she explains, and due to her team’s feedback, she closed it to walk-ins even before the governor shut things down due to safety. “It was terrifying,” she recalls. “Wine delivery trucks were being commandeered to transport bodies, but from a business perspective it was like Christmas. It was unbelievable.” Sevrens ordered a lot more than usual and turned the store into a warehouse. “We were well prepared,” she says.

Now that normalcy has mostly returned, Sevrens is also enjoying offering travel experiences through her business. In May on the day of this interview, she had just returned from two weeks in the historical region of Burgundy, France, leading a tour with 19 of her top Burgundy customers.

“I took them to see some really small very special producers in Burgundy that do not have tasting rooms,” she says. “We visited two producers every day and kept mornings free for bike riding, shopping etc.” She is leading a similar trip to the Piedmont region of Italy in the fall.

“I love this business,” Sevrens says. “There’s nothing better than when a customer comes in and I can help them with a pairing, and they take the time later to let me know it was perfect.”

This feature is part of our Top 100 Retailers program. Winners in our annual Top 100 program were announced during the 2023 Beverage Alcohol Retailers Conference. Other Top 100 winners include:


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