Shanti Wines was founded by Ray and Dimple Sharma. Both were born in a part of India located north of New Delhi. They mutually began to explore wine while living in the San Francisco Bay Area. Ray works as a real estate broker and Dimple as a project manager. Each contributes their individual skills to their wine brand, Ray a business acumen and Dimple an understanding of the chemistry of winemaking with a B.S. in Biology and Chemistry from Panjab University in India. Their passion for wine was born out of curiosity. They began visiting small family owned wineries, primarily in the north bay and learning more about the business. These tastings were also their treasured alone time to relax while their children were young.
One winery in particular played an important role in the founding of Shanti Wines. While tasting at this boutique winery on the southern part of Silverado Trail they connected with one of their long time wine educators, CJ. And during one particular tasting at this winery, Ray commented to Sharma about how relaxed and peaceful it felt. They decided to use the name Shanti to honor not only their own heritage, but also the word in Sanskrit means peace or having an inner peace. The words peace, harmony and joy are an integral part of their own philosophy. And Ray designed the logo himself, an image of a person meditating.
They produced their first several vintages at a small winery using their micro crush services while their more recent vintages have been crafted at a custom crush operation in an industrial park south of the city of Napa. The first vintage of Shanti was in 2012.
They purchase grapes from a variety of vineyards, primarily in northern California including Napa, Sonoma and Lodi.
Around 2016 they leased a space in the airport industrial area located south of the city of Napa. This part of Napa Valley is home to numerous production wineries both with or without hospitality spaces. Often but not always these wineries do not own vineyards. Several other nearby winery neighbors include production spaces for Bin to Bottle, Fayard Winemaking and Black Cat Vineyard. In 2020 they purchased part of the building to expand their hospitality operations and in 2021 were approved to use part of the space for wine production.
The 2020 Shanti California Chardonnay was aged in approximately 50% stainless steel vessels and 50% oak barrels. It is medium yellow in color; the aromatics are diverse, layered, fresh, fruity and floral. It offers scents of pineapple, vanilla pudding, honeydew melon, mango, papaya, comise pear, bruised apple, orange peel zest, honeysuckle and jasmine. It is abundantly clear from smelling this bouquet that this bottling is in no way oaky or buttery. It reveals flavors of tapioca, red apple, pear, pineapple, lychee, apricot and yellow nectarine. Its texture is a hallmark characteristic, featuring a supple mouth feel with a light viscosity. The fruit filled finish continues to persist for some time. This balanced bottling drinks very well by itself, but we could also see pairing it with a Thai chicken curry. This wine earned a silver medal in 2022 at the Beverage Testing Institute tasting.
The 2014 Shanti Pinot Noir Sonoma County is medium ruby in color with age creating some brickish hues. For reference we tasted this wine 9 years post vintage. It shows some bottle bouquet with aromas of dried mushroom, dark raspberry, baseball mitt being used on a hot day, light toast, coffee, mocha, espresso, old cedar box, nutmeg, dried blackberry and prune. Brightly lit across the palate due to its acidity, it sports flavors of raspberry, red cherry, red plum and currant. This brightness persists on the finish, accompanied by lightly grainy tannins with a lingering dusty character showing more on the front of the palate than the back. It still presents a freshness and liveliness, especially noticeable on the finish. Very food friendly and very balanced. And from personal experience, this wine pairs nicely with oven-roasted rabbit.
The 2014 Shanti Merlot Napa Valley is deep ruby in color; the bouquet offers aromas of library book, dry earth/dust, a hint of old cedar box, cherry, plum, red licorice and a light assortment of baking spices. It smells fresh, bright and red fruited. Some of the red fruited characteristics on the bouquet also show in the palate including flavors of raspberry, cherry and a hint of chocolate. The finish is lively with notes of dried herbs and more red fruits than dark. The tannins are lightly textured, lingering with a light drying character. We tasted this wine 9 years post vintage date; it still has life ahead of it.
The 2013 Shanti is a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Zinfandel and several other red varieties. This wine is deep ruby in color; the bouquet offers some savory notes along with five-star Asian spices, raspberry, currant and strawberry. Sweetly fruited. There is plenty of fruit here still. And at play are some herbal notes including mint along with old cedar box. The palate offers flavors of red berries, red cherry, currant and plum. It showcases bright and mouth watering acidity. The tannins are still very much present; their firm grip revealing a grainy and gritty texture. They far outpace the fruit on the finish. This wine shows very well 10 years post vintage at the time of our tasting and is still among the favorite bottling of some of their customers.
The 2019 Shanti California Cabernet Sauvignon is 100% varietal sourced from vineyards in Napa, Sonoma, Lodi and Santa Barbara. This wine is medium to dark ruby in color; we immediately wrote the word savory to describe its initial aromatics. The bouquet is gamey and offers scents of crushed black pepper, sweaty saddle leather, bramble, creosote, dried herbs and notes of freshly tilled soils. It needs time for its aromatic fruit character to fully express itself, but it slowly opens to aromas of dark raspberries and plum. The palate reveals flavors of raspberry, strawberry, red cherry, red plum and assorted other red berries. The texture features smooth and rounded tannins, seamlessly integrated into the finish and lingers with a very subtle drying character and a note of dried tobacco leaf. This wine drinks very easily in its youth. Pair with lamb chops or pork loin roast.
These are food friendly lighter styled, lower alcohol balanced bottlings which have the proven track record of being able to age. But they are approachable and drink well in their youth. Unlike many small producers who don’t have library wines to showcase during visits, Shanti has older bottlings available for tastings.
Total annual production is around 1,000 cases although they don’t produce wine every year. The wines are primarily sold direct to consumer through their website, wine club or on premise visits. Dimple operated a wine bar in downtown Vacaville for about 5 years called Cuvée; this space has since closed but in addition to small producers, was used to also showcase the Shanti wines. The wines are available in a couple of restaurants in the east bay and also at Bar Goa in Chicago.
And through various partnerships they also produce a Shanti beer, olive oil and several spirits including vodka and whisky. Visits are by appointment and are either hosted by Ray or Dimple or a long time friend. Tastings are unscripted, highly personalized and offer an opportunity to taste both older and newer vintages. With a sizable and inviting space, they will sometimes host events such as holiday parties or small corporate gatherings, with food brought in by a caterer. And plans call for special yoga sessions followed by wine tasting.
Shanti offers a wine club with either two or four bottles shipped quarterly – these shipments can be customized based on consumer preferences. And membership includes a variety of perks including discounts on wines and complimentary tastings. For more information, to schedule a tasting, or to purchase wines, visit: www.shantiwines.com