About — Cincinnati Wine Expert & Sommelier Kevin Hart
Cincinnati-based wine expert and sommelier Kevin Hart launched HART & CRU after years in the restaurant world at Boca Restaurant, Pigall's and wineCRAFT.
HART & CRU IS A CONCIERGE-STYLE CONSULTING SERVICE FOCUSED ON BRINGING ARTISANAL WINES TO AVID DRINKERS THROUGH SPECIAL EVENTS, WINE TASTINGS, CELLAR OFFERINGS, AND WINE CLASSES.
ABOUT KEVIN HART
Hart is an experienced sommelier and decorated student of the vine. He worked the floor at Boca for seven years, eventually becoming sommelier and general manager. Alongside Chef David Falk, he developed his palate for pairing food and wine. He deepened his knowledge of French wines while working with Mobil Four-Star Chef Jean-Robert de Cavel. His stint as sommelier at Pigall’s, a Relais & Chateaux restaurant, impressed upon him the importance of classic styles in the kitchen and in the bottle. After years in the restaurant world, he felt the time was right to take his career to the next level by leveraging his friendships with top wine producers, connoisseurs and obsessives. In 2012, Kevin teamed up with his mentor, Gordon Hue, to grow wineCRAFT, an importing-distributing company based in Cincinnati. The success of wineCRAFT led Kevin to return to Boca Restaurant Group as Beverage Director, giving him a broader platform to express his point of view on quality-crafted wines and the honest farmers behind the bottles.
In 2015, Hart’s entrepreneurial spirit surfaced and he launched HART & CRU to focus on bringing wine education, product selection and market expansion to an array of corporate clients, as well as concierge services—such as tastings, private events and cellar management—to his private clientele.
I was born in a cornfield in northwest Ohio. I promise you, the world’s most beautiful sunset. Just taste the apple cider in Northwest Ohio. I won’t pretend to know all the sub soils, whether it’s loamy clay, schist, marl or limestone, but those apples—the ones my grandmother pressed on her four-acre farm—changed my life.
I chased that sip of apple cider for sixteen years through design school and into the restaurant business. I was attracted to anything attractive: classic cars, chairs, minimalism, my teacher. I found micro-lot coffee, real pasta and chefs worth believing in.
For me, wine is about listening to a thousand years of history and realizing that a great bottle represents our best effort. Wine’s complexity, its beauty, is realized through the tension between man and nature. When I taste good wine, I taste handshakes; I taste pruning, degorging, pressing, pinching, breathing. When I taste wine I think of my friends; the self-taught meteorologists, the philosophers who know end-of-harvest-heartbreaks; I think about sitting at Giuseppe Vajra’s kitchen table in Piemonte, I think about his newborn child who will lie down in the vineyard and dream.
I went to Europe and bombed my way through the Italian countryside leaving a trail of empty bottles and the potent memories of endless walks through the vines. I meandered through Chianti Classico led by an intrepid farmer whose clippings have become clones for 90% of Tuscany. I devoured 18-hour days in Southern France, introducing my lips to thousands of wines. I learned to keep up with legendary wine junkies, soaking up their stories of spilt 69’ Haut-Brion. I stifled fanboy smiles in the presence of France’s Gang of Four, the cherished rebels who saved the soul of Beaujolais from Nouveau's debasement.
I’m not here to tell you what you have to taste. I wouldn’t tell you what books to read, what albums to buy or how to dress well. You already know what you like. I’m here to tell stories. I’m here to be a conduit for lovers and farmers, from the glass to the earth. I’m here to cut through thick pretense, allay your fears, and dispel any notions that this divine substance, this manic libation is anything more than juice. I’m here to help you discover your favorite wine.