Tarpon Cellars‘ Jeremy Carter had something different in mind as he began to brainstorm ideas for a potential winemaker dinner. Carter wanted to buck the trend of the usual wine country fare, opting to create a more dynamic sensory experience. A lover of music, the winemaker was inspired to fuse music and wine together, but it was a challenge to find a venue that would showcase the music as an equal partner, as opposed to just background accompaniment. After attending a show at Napa’s Blue Note, he knew he had found a home for his vision.
A Georgia native, Carter attended Florida State University before moving to Napa Valley in 2007 for an internship at his uncle’s winery in Rutherford. He would soon hone his winemaking acumen through positions at Luna, Chappallet and Duckhorn while also crafting 90-point wines under his previous label, J.R. Carter Wine Cellars. Having made wine in Napa, Sonoma and New Zealand, Carter took all of his previous winemaking experience to create his label, Tarpon Cellars.
Carter came up with First Waltz, a five-course sensory experience pairing food, wine and song. He tapped fellow Georgia natives the Futurebirds to join in the event. Futurebirds’ twangy Southern rock will be featured during the dinner, with the band telling the stories behind its songs along with each course. Chef Quinten Garcia, who most recently worked at St. Helena’s Michelin-star-rated restaurant, Meadowood, will provide the menu. Carter gave the chef and the band a simple word or phrase as a theme for each of the five courses by which to develop their given contribution. Carter will also participate in a Q&A during the event.
The First Waltz dinner isn’t the only way in which Carter and Tarpon Cellars engage with music enthusiasts. The winery partnered with Spotify to create curated playlists that connect via their wine labels. Tarpon creates a playlist for each wine that is produced, based not only on the thematic elements that might pair well with the wine, but also with what Carter was listening to during that harvest or even the production cycle. Carter wanted to be able to create that connection between music and wine in the same way a song can take you back to a memory. Tarpon wines feature a link on the back label that directs buyers to the playlist.
The First Waltz event will be held at the Blue Note in Napa Sunday, June 30 at 6 p.m.