Rising Star Sommelier Jon Kearns of The Joseph Nashville - Biography

Nashville, TN

May 2022

Growing up on Long Island, Jon Kearns hoped to become a music journalist. He studied communications at Hampshire College in Massachusetts, but when the economy crashed in 2008, his plans were put on hold. He moved to New York City and got a serving job at Tribeca Grill, where he studied for the American Sommelier Association’s Viticulture course. Kearns was amazed that there was a whole career centered around wine, and the Tribeca Grill beverage director, David Gordan, a founding father of the American sommelier program, took note of Kearns’ interest and brought him under his wing. He spent two years studying Tribeca’s vast wine cellar before being promoted to sommelier of Michelin-starred B√Ętard in 2014. Two years later, Kearns traded the Burgundy-centric beverage program for the more broad, Italian and French cellar as the sommelier for Ai Fiori. He became the wine director of Ai Fiori’s sister restaurant, Vaucluse, in 2019, but the restaurant shuttered the following year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

After hearing about Nashville’s growing culinary scene, Kearns decided to move to the Music City in 2020. He was brought on as beverage director at The Joseph, home to the Italian fine dining restaurant, Yolan. Kearns works in collaboration with Michelin-starred Chef Tony Mantuano and wine expert Cathy Mantuano to build pairings that highlight small-scale and family winemakers, earning the restaurant a 2021 Wine Spectator “Best of Award of Excellence”.