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Meet Jay Carter of Carter Luxury Wine and Torrance Wine Cellars

Today we’d like to introduce you to Jay Carter.

Thanks for sharing your story with us Jay. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
I’ve been making wine since I was 16. My cousin was trying to introduce me to weed; it just wasn’t for me, but alcohol (wine specifically) seemed a little more acceptable by society at that time and for my personal “moral self” and it was fun to make something out of simple juice. No matter what I was doing in life, I always made time to make wine and enjoy with friends.

While working overseas as a private contractor, I had the opportunity to visit countries on my off time and drink some amazing wine and learn new ways of drinking/food pairing

We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
Just like anyone, my life has had peaks and valleys. I’ve definitely had times of getting my lights turned off as well as my hot water, but I’ve also lived in Bel-Air bodyguarding the rich and famous driving a Bentley or Ferrari to get onto a Gulfstream and fly to another country just for a “weekend getaway”. Life has just been amazing that way.

We’d love to hear more about your business.
I’m opening a new wine cellar/store on Old Town Torrance at the moment. The neighborhood is quiet, huge sidewalks, and everyone generally knows each other. I work as a Somm in a small restaurant called Restoration Kitchen & Wine as well as another location in Beverly Hills. Even though Restoration is smaller and the staff can be interesting to say the least, I enjoy the people more. The look of people’s faces when you choose a good wine for them. Much more appreciative of a selection than I have at other fancier locations.

I’ve been in the security industry for 20+ years bodyguarding Executives, Celebrities like Brittney Spears, and sports starts like doing security for a time for the Lakers and more specifically for Kobe Bryant, including trips to San Diego Zoo and Disneyworld in Florida-amazing to see that guy make time for his family.

The only thing that really sets me apart from other Sommeliers is probably that I shoot for the average joe. I have a podcast and I’m always reminding people to not worry what others are drinking, and not to feel awkward about the $15-20 bottle. The elite I’ve been around typically do not drink Opus One or even a Screaming Eagle on a nightly basis.

There’s beautiful daily drinking wine that’s found at all price points if given the proper chance.

What were you like growing up?
I think I always tried to smile no matter what life threw at me. My parents broke up at a young age, and I never quite knew what had happened. My mom had a tough time with bills and I ended up living with the grandparents. I think it’s something that many can relate to. I did ok in school, but for me it was a social place to have fun at, I didn’t really take it seriously. I’m mixed racially and I spoke different languages and I don’t think that was expected from my Caucasian appearance. My grandfather had a market in Wilmington, CA., which in the 80’s & 90’s wasn’t the easiest place. I learned really quick you had to be street smart and business savvy or you’d be chewed up and spit out… we had violent times there that I won’t get into now, but I also learned, that everyone no matter how poor were just looking for their slice of heaven. The BBQs were simple and the basic fundamentals were met, but everyone was happy and we helped them with that. A far cry from the lavish sprawls I’ve been to since. I still enjoyed making my wine and hanging with the fella’s that I’d get into some shenanigans with.


  • Wine tasting is $25, Monday through Thursday. I deliver different wine depending on what the weather is like as well as what to bridge with your food.

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Getting in touch: VoyageLA is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you know someone who deserves recognition please let us know here.

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