Jeremy Carter of Napa's Tarpon Cellars wins startup category in beverage business awards
Cause-related wine events that draw increasingly more consumers can be a great entrepreneurial idea, says Jeremy Carter, founder of Napa vintner Tarpon Cellars and winner of the startup category of North Bay Business Journal's Wine, Beer + Spirits Industry Award winner for 2019.
The Business Journal asked him how and why he went out on his own after working at notable local vintners.
Detail your background in the industry:
I have been in winemaking for 13 years while previously working at wineries like Duckhorn and Chappellet. After starting Tarpon Cellars in 2017, we have grown to around 1,000 cases of single vineyard Napa Valley wines.
Describe the impact your company or you have had on the industry in the last five years:
Being a virtual winery, we have explored how young brands can connect with millennial consumers through music, events, and philanthropy. While we don't have a tasting room of our own, we have found some creative ways to bring people together both digitally and in person
What are the accomplishments you can list to support that impact on the industry?
We were able to forge a unique partnership with Spotify that allows us to link a specific music playlist for each individual wine we bottle.
These playlists are meant not only as a music and wine pairing, but are also a way to let consumers know what we are listening to at every stage of production for those wines, which a creates a sort of soundtrack for the wine.
We have seen a lot of emotional connection to these playlists, and a lot of our website traffic is directly linked to people looking into the playlist as they become acquainted with the wine.
We also are focusing on non-traditional wine events to bring people together for a good cause, and many of these also tie in live music.
For our First Waltz event in Napa, we had a food, wine, and music pairing featuring live music from the band Futurebirds that explored five themes over five courses, and created a lot of conversation around our roles as chefs, winemakers, and musicians.
What changes have you noticed in your industry in the last five years and how have you and/or your company moved to capitalize on those changes?
The biggest change I have seen is how people are exposed to and buy wine, which is becoming more available through direct to consumer purchasing, and there are a lot more avenues for exposure through social and digital media than ever before.
This has allowed us to create a small community of loyal and like-minded consumers, and this in combination with music events, allows us to connect on a very personal level.