The name Amanti Vino or “wine lovers” doesn’t even begin to hint at the passion that helped formulate this establishment, and sustains its continued growth. This was another great assignment that I was excited to cover for Jersey Bites.
Located in a pleasantly trendy area of Montclair on Church Street, Amanti Vino not only cares for its walk in patrons with skill and integrity, but also services surrounding restaurants who want to offer something wonderfully different to their customers. They’re like the reference section of the NYC Public Library.
Anxious to accommodate differing tastes and budgets; wine, beer, and spirits are offered at several price points and displayed in separate bins throughout the store. When asked why there were empty bins in the display, owner Karen pointed out that no wine will be offered unless it is personally tasted and approved. So if they can’t find a variety they like in that price bracket, the bin will remain empty. Great concept.
In the past, I may have felt intimidated about trying to purchase something in a store of this caliber. But the overriding feelings upon entering and interacting with the employees can be described as easy, friendly, happy, and passionate. Most, having come from other occupations, truly appreciate the oasis that exists here. (I’m getting my resume ready right now!)
Our tour of the store started with glasses of Pierre Gimonnet Brut champagne. And it only got better from there. You won’t find wines from the major labels here; only wines where the owners are looking after their product like it were their child.
Their spirits and beer sections follow the same philosophy. Amanti Vino only stocks smaller-quantity, harder-to-get selections where the distiller and blender are hands-on. As way of example, they pointed out a bottle of spirits of which they are one of only two place to carry it on the east coast.
The second part of the evening continued upstairs in their classroom, overlooking the first floor. As it turns out, teaching is a huge passion for the owner, Sharon. We had multiple tastings and lectures concerning wine and beer. It’s pretty amazing the depth of knowledge that accompanies the enthusiasm of everyone at Amanti Vino.
What’s in the future for Amanti Vino? More teaching and maybe a wine bar. How cool would that be? You get to sample wines and then have the opportunity to purchase. Open ‘til between 7pm and 10pm on different nights, getting a bottle is easy. Check out their website at http://www.amantivino.com. I think I’m an Amanti Vino amanti.
Phil Sikora: In his own words “I have a T-shirt from a club for owners of Russian motorcycles with a motto that translates to: “Eat to ride; ride to eat.” I’ve taken that to heart. And so the stories will unfold.” Phil is a motorcycle enthusiast and System Engineer for AT&T. He works in Middletown and lives in Paramus and will be reporting on his culinary adventures in his “Reviews from the Road” series for Jersey Bites.