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For more than thirty years John Hart has been Chicago’s leading purveyor of fine and rare wines. When he co-founded the Chicago Wine Company out of his house in 1973, John pioneered Chicago’s first fine and rare wine company. He was pivotal to a generation of American collectors who developed extensive cellars prior to the emergence of rare wine auctions in North America. Having helped orchestrate a number of historic wine tastings with prominent collectors, John’s reputation and expertise became widely recognized on an international level. These include such tastings as a vertical tasting of 60 vintages of Haut Brion dating back 1899 versus 60 vintages of La Mission Haut Brion with Dr. Marvin Overton in Fort Worth, Texas, and the epic vertical tasting of 80 vintages of Chateau Mouton Rothschild dating back to 1868 with Lloyd Flatt in New Orleans.

In 1989 John decided to sell his half of the Chicago Wine Company to his partner. “We had different goals for the company. Mine was to stay small and intimate,” said John. He then served as a Senior Wine Consultant for Christie’s from 1991 until their operations shifted to New York in 1993.

A lifelong Chicagoan, John had developed a loyal following among major collectors, restaurants and corporations around the globe for his highly personal level of service, as well as his refined and elegant manner. In 1993 he formed John Hart Fine Wine. “My motivation to reenter the fine wine retail business was because so many of my former clients wanted me to come back.

John H. Hart
Chairman Emeritus


When Michael Davis and Paul Hart left Sotheby’s in 2003, the three began talking as friends about a possible partnership. “We had similar goals in providing unmatched service. Our partnership is advantageous to our clients since we give them the option to auction their consignments,” noted John.

John is a Founding Director of the Chicago Chapter of the American Institute of Wine and Food and has served as an expert panelist for seminars with Wine Spectator and Food & Wine.

In addition to possessing a steadfast commitment to fine wine, John has many other passions in life, the foremost being giving back to his community. He and his wife, Carol Prins, split their time between Chicago and Sante Fe and are immensely dedicated to both communities. John serves as a trustee of the Lincoln Park Zoo, where he has initiated programs for disadvantaged children and the elderly. John is also on the Board of Directors of Chicago’s Steppenwolf Theater. He serves as a Trustee for the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, is a Trustee for the Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival, and is on the board of a number of other major cultural institutions in both Chicago and Santa Fe.

John shares his dedication to community involvement with his wife, Carol Prins. She is the Immediate Past Chairman of the Board of the Goodman Theater, a Trustee of The Museum of Contemporary Art, (MCA Chicago), the Alumnae Council of the Chicago Foundation for Women, a former trustee of the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum, and currently a member of The Museum’s National Advisory Board, a Trustee of SITE Santa Fe, as well as a member of the Santa Fe Opera National Advisory Board and the Aspen/Santa Fe Ballet Advisory Board.

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