Show 161, February 27, 2016: Tara Gomez, Winemaker, Kita Wines, Lompoc, CA

Tara GomezKita Wines, a premium brand launched by the Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians, has earned numerous distinctions in the handful of years since it became part of the Santa Ynez Valley wine scene. Kita means “our valley oak” in the native language of the Chumash people.

It starts with where the grapes primarily come from – a vineyard situated at the gateway to Santa Barbara County’s renowned Happy Canyon wine region. It’s here that the soil and climate combine to produce some of the valley’s most sought-after grapes.

Owning both a vineyard and winery has meant the Santa Ynez Chumash are also making history. In fact, the California Legislature has recognized Chumash as the first tribe to have a vineyard and winemaking operation in the country run by tribal people.

At the 2015 San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition Kita was awarded two Double Golds. One was for the 2012 Pinot Noir Santa Rita Hills Hilliard Bruce and the other for the 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon Santa Ynez Valley Camp 4 Vineyard.

Kita has just released their first Chardonnay. It’s a Chablis-style Chardonnay that pairs well with food. It’s a 2014 from the Hilliard Bruce Vineyard.

Kita’s winemaker and general manager, Tara Gomez, is our guest. Her winemaking degree is from Fresno State. Tara interned at Fess Parker Winery and worked grape harvests in Europe before starting the Kita Wines venture in 2010. Joining her is Kita’s Assistant Winemaker, Tymari LoRe.