October 21, 2018
You might think that being a sommelier is glamorous, and that travel and constant tasting is what it’s all about. But that’s not the full story... Being a somm is often anything but glamorous—it’s still fun and always fulfilling—at times it can be literally a dirty job.
This week, I was reminded very tangibly (and hilariously) why I love what I do with HART & CRU so much.
On Thursday morning, my day began with deliveries: nine cases of wine to one client, a few bottles for another. After some emails at the office to source bottles and plan events, I loaded up 22 cases in the delivery van and drove an hour outside of town to a farm hosting a weekend wedding.
But before I continue this story, you might want to know a little bit more about me. We may have first met at a great restaurant in Cincinnati, at the symphony or even a tasting in a private home. What you might not know is... I learned stick shift on a tractor in the soils of my family's farm in Northwest Ohio. This is where I burned some clutches on an old John Deere tractor with my grandfather watching guard, quietly laughing at a young ambitious kid who wanted to drive. (Needless to say, we were both grateful that tractor clutches are more forgiving than fancy cars.) That family farm was the place where I walked and worked fields of corn, soybeans and wheat.
I was reminded of those roots this week as we wound down a gravel road lined with dried corn stalks in search of a newly cleared soybean field, where 300 plus guests would soon celebrate a lovely couple exchanging “I do’s.” As a massive tent-village came into view, I could feel the excitement in the air. We found our spot, parked the van and proceeded to unload case after case of the wines I’m so proud to represent. We finished, climbed back in the van and hit the gas, ready to move on… but we moved about two inches and then heard the tires spinning. We hesitated and tried again. Nothing. We had managed to find the last muddy spot in the entire field and had gotten ourselves stuck. Luckily, we weren’t the only ones there preparing for the event and and after a quick phone call, we heard the rumble of our savior: you guessed it a John Deere tractor was coming to our rescue.
After crawling around in the mud for a few minutes, I found a safe spot to hook up the chain. As I rose to give the signal to pull I realized that an audience had formed: the bride, her girlfriends, and the groom’s mother. I wondered how I’d possibly suggest that they help push…but that’s not what they had in mind. They were there to take full advantage of the situation by taking photos and videos to make sure this wedding amusement was captured for posterity (and instagram). In the end, the bride and I were laughing as photos were taken of us with a mud covered truck, faces covered in smiles. What could have been a nuisance gave us all a moment of delight.
This is why I love what I do, the smiles in the moments like these and the ones I know will follow as I imagine all the wedding guests enjoying the wines. The service we offer, curating great wines for all sorts of occasions, has one sole (and soul) purpose: to bring joy. Our goal now is the same as when I worked a restaurant floor in a suit and tie every night, to make wine approachable and to help people have an incredible evening. So let us know if you’d like to help us spread this joy.
Kevin Hart - Founder : Hart & Cru