Justin Vann, the Oxheart sommelier who earned recognition from Food & Wine magazine as one of the top sommeliers of 2013, will no longer be on the floor at one of Houston's best restaurants. When Chronicle critic Alison Cook originally reported the news last night, some people on Twitter wondered if the whole thing might be an April Fool's Day joke, but Vann confirms in a conversation that it is not. He describes the split as amicable and notes that he will still be buying wine for the restaurant. In terms of Oxheart's future, Vann says he will assist the restaurant in finding his replacement but says that diners shouldn't be worried. "The staff has learned a lot. Our front of the house is really strong."
As for the timing of his decision, Vann says the only reason he would leave Oxheart would be "for a more aggressive push for better wine in Houston." While he isn't ready to talk about the specifics, he promises it will be "very entertaining" and "really, really fun." In the meantime, here's hoping he uses the free time to resume writing his always entertaining blog.
This is not Justin Vann's favorite picture of himself. [Gary R Wise]