Cru vs. Brew at Amanti Vino

Montclair’s Church Street Wine Shop, Amanti Vino, hosts "Cru vs. Brew" on October 22, 2015. Cru vs. Brew will benefit Intensive Therapeutics.

Amanti Vino hosts fundraiser for Intensive Therapeutics, called Cru vs. Brew.

Wine versus beer. It’s an age-old duel, and once someone decides which they prefer, it’s rare that anything could change their mind. On Oct. 22, Amanti Vino intends to see which beverage reigns supreme.

Sharon Sevrens, proprietor of the elegant wine shop, is hosting the event to benefit Intensive Therapeutics, an organization that provides occupational therapy to children with special needs. “Every fundraiser I do is for Intensive Therapeutics,” said Sevrens. “The point of the event is obviously to have fun, but we also want to raise money. I’ve been working to raise money for [the program] ever since my son started attending their amazing summer camp.” Sevrens’s commitment to the organization is clear: she has managed to raise over $100,000 for Intensive Therapeutics over the past five years.

Cru vs. Brew
Photo courtesy of Sharon Sevrens

“Every year we do things a little bit differently,” said Sevrens. “Last year we did a ‘Cru Meets Brew’ [event] where we had a beer and wine with each course, but it wasn’t a competition. But this year we decided it’d be fun to make it a sport.”

Cru vs. Brew will pit beer guru Garrett Brown of Firestone Walker Brewery against wine aficionado Michael Skurnik of Skurnik Wines. Brown and Skurnik will complete their throwdown during the Cru vs. Brew dinner in what Severens describes as a “head to head, course by course duel.” The diners will then vote on which drink paired better with the course by holding up auction-style paddles labeled with “Cru” and “Brew.”

The Cru vs. Brew five-course meal will be prepared by many popular New Jersey-based chefs, many of whom have ties directly to Montclair. Among the group of talented contributing chefs for the evening are Shawn Paul Dalziel of Montclair’s Laurel & Sage and Ariane Duarte (of Ariane Kitchen & Bar in Verona, formerly of CulinAriane in Montclair). Amanti Vino has participated in wine pairing dinners with Laurel & Sage; Duarte is a close friend of Sevrens, and has partnered with Amanti Vino for several events in previous years.

Severns has known one of the participating chefs Corey Heyer (of Bernards Inn in Bernardsville) since high school, and the two recently collaborated on an experiential wine pairing dinner.

James Laird (of Restaurant Serenade in Chatham), has also partnered successfully with Sevrens. “About a year ago we did a wine pairing dinner at Escape in Montclair and we really enjoyed working on that together,” said Severns.

Francesco Palmieri (of the Orange Squirrel in Bloomfield) will be doing an amuse-bouche for the event. The pastries will be created by John Sauchelli, (of Maritime Parc in Jersey City) whom Sevens has not worked with before.

“We like to be different,” said Sevrens, speaking of her event style. “We had our 10th birthday party at the Montclair Art Museum [on Oct. 11] to promote our first private label. We had people from across the country sending us ideas for [label design]. The only thing it had to include was an image of my yellow lab Rufus. We had a big gallery exhibition at the party.”

Sevrens never seems to take a break; she’s already working on her next wine pairing event happening in November. She’s also on the board of the Montclair Food & Wine Festival and is busy preparing for the organization’s upcoming winter event, Frost Bites, in January 2016. “I’m always planning events,” said Sevrens. “It’s fun to do things fresh and differently.”

Cru vs. Brew will take place on Thursday, Oct. 22 at 7:00 p.m. at the Women’s Club of Upper Montclair. Tickets are $170/person and proceeds benefit Intensive Therapeutics. For more info and to purchase tickets call (973) 509-9463.

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