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.

Show 136, August 29, 2015: Tara Gomez, GM & Winemaker, Kita Wines

Tara GomezTara Gomez, the Winemaker and General Manager of Kita Wines in Santa Barbara County, is no stranger to the show. Kita, a small premium winery located in the heart of the Santa Ynez Valley within the Santa Barbara County AVA, is unusually owned by the Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians. It’s one of the few Indian-owned wineries that is actually managed by the owning Tribe. Tara is a Chumash Tribe member trained in enology at Cal State Fresno.

In 2010, The Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians purchased Camp 4 Vineyard and Tara’s dream of giving back to her tribe became true when she was hired as Winemaker. Tara’s understanding of the site, soils and grapes allow her to shepherd the grapes with minimal input into elegant, balanced wines with lower alcohol content.

The word “Kita” means “Our Valley Oak” in the Santa Ynez Chumash native language of Samala.

At the recent Los Angeles International Wine Competition, Kita Wines were awarded 2 Gold Medals, 3 Silver Medals, and 2 Bronze medals. Pretty impressive for a tiny boutique winery with an annual case production of 2,500.

You can taste Kita’s Gold Medal wines at the Los Angeles County Fair in Pomona through September 27th. They are the Cabernet Sauvignon, Santa Ynez Valley 2012 and the White Rhone Blend, T’aya, Santa Ynez Valley 2013.

Kita is already harvesting their wine grapes.

They do have a tasting room in Lompoc. It’s a small operation so by appointment only, please.