Tara Gomez

Tara Gomez

Camins 2 Dreams (Winemaker & Owner)

Tara Gomez experienced an early fascination with wine as she accompanied her parents during her childhood as they went on wine tours; the aromas, atmosphere, and process surrounding winemaking mesmerized her. The fascination continued as she became engaged with the chemistry and related sciences that underlay the process of winemaking. Building on this and with the support of a scholarship from her tribe, the Santa Ynez band of Chumash Indians, she attended California State University, Fresno, graduating with a B.S. in Enology in 1998. Tara was one of two women graduating with this degree that year.

She cut her teeth professionally by working for several years as the Enologist at Fess Parker winery in Los Olivos, where she had interned as a student. She then moved on to J. Lohr Winery in Paso Robles. Tara spent nine years as Lab Manager/Enologist at J. Lohr, and while there started her own label, Kalawashaq’, in 2001. Following her employment at J. Lohr, she went to Spain and worked for Castel d’Encus for two years, polishing her skills as a winemaker and learning to blend New and Old World techniques.

In 2010, her tribe purchased the Camp 4 vineyard from Fess Parker, prompting Tara to return to the Central Coast in the dual roles of Winemaker and General Manager for the property and of Kitá, the winery associated with it. Kitá means “Our Valley Oak” in the Santa Ynez Chumash native language of Samala. Like this oak, Kitá wines reflected the gifts of Mother Earth and the spirit of the Santa Ynez Valley. The tribe elected to close the winery in 2022.

At Kitá, Tara made Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Grenache, Syrah, and Cabernet Sauvignon, among other varietals. Of special note were blends, entitled T’Aya (white Rhone blend), Spe’y (red Rhone blend), and Kalas (red Bordeaux blend), which represent water, earth, and air, respectively, foundational elements of life; fire, the fourth such element, was planned. All of the wines were produced in small amounts, and total production was about 2000 cases.

In 2017, Tara and her wife, Mireia Taribó, replaced Kalawashaq’ with a new label, Camins 2 Dreams (“Path 2 Dreams”). Their focus is cool-climate varietals such as Syrah and Grüner Veltliner that thrive in the foggy mornings and cool nights of Santa Rita Hills, an appellation in Santa Barbara County. Their first release of the wine bearing this label was in 2018. Tara is committed to producing wines in a sustainable way and knows that, in her own words, “In winemaking, you can do everything you can, but you still have to consider the influence of Mother Nature.” In recognition of her winemaking talents, she was named “Winemaker of the Year” as part of the 2021 VinePair Next Wave Awards and recognized as a “Future 40 Tastemakers 2023” honoree by Wine Enthusiast magazine.

When Tara is not deeply immersed in winemaking, she enjoys spending time with her family, her fur babies, and being at one with nature.