Kennesaw native Jeremy Carter returned to his roots after attending Florida State with intentions of opening a wine bar. Realizing that he did not know as much about wine as he thought he did or should, he traveled to Napa, California, for an internship.
It was just a taste of what was to come. Wine country spoke to him and within two weeks, Carter knew he wanted to stay.
Classes at University of California at Davis and the Culinary Institute of America led him to explore more. He worked at larger vineyards, like Duckhorn and Chappellet, and spent a year in New Zealand.
With roughly 10 years or so immersed in the world of wine, Carter had a plan and in 2017, Tarpon Cellars was launched.
“It’s just such a cool world. It’s (wine) got a little bit of geography, science, a lot of people involved and there’s this sense of place and being connected with the seasons,” Carter said.
“We wanted the focus of this brand to connect to people whether through music, philanthropy or events - bringing as many people as possible under the tent, to raise money for an organization I care about.”
When close friends, J. B. and Melissa Pinkston’s son was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis soon after his birth, the community came together.
“Rather than it being a sad thing, the Atlanta community rallied around them,” he said. “They started this leg of the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation of Georgia called Grayton’s Guardians and raised a ton of money. The whole goal is to find a cure.”
There wasn’t a question or really a thought about donating. Carter knew he wanted to help.
“I wanted to be a force of positive growth and good for that community, so $1 from every bottle of Tarpon Cellars sold goes to Grayton’s Guardians,” he said.
Last month Tarpon Cellars hosted Grayton’s Ball at Venkman’s in Old Fourth Ward. An evening was spent sharing stories, raising money and celebrating wine, art and music.
They gave as hard as they partied.
The cause-event raised $7,000, bringing the 2019 donations from Tarpon Cellars to CFF of Georgia to $10,000.
“I’ve heard people say it’s not so much what you do, but how you do it,” Carter said. He feels he’s gotten really good at making wine over the past 12 years, but says “at some point it becomes a vehicle for the things you value in life, the things that truly effect people.”
For more information, visit www.tarponcellars.com, www.cff.org, www.facebook.com/graytonsguardians.
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