From the first time that she stepped into a winery as a child, Tara Gomez has loved winemaking. Her fascination for science and love for the aromas of wine always mesmerized her. With the help of a scholarship from her tribe, the Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians, Tara attended California State University Fresno where she studied Enology. While still a student, Tara gained hands on experience during an internship at Fess Parker Winery. She graduated as one of two women with a Bachelor of Science in Enology in 1998.
Her craving for chemistry landed her an Enologist position at Fess Parker Winery following Fresno State. A few years later, Tara moved up to Paso Robles to be the Enologist/Lab Manager at J.Lohr Vineyards and Wines. During her time at J.Lohr Tara was able to help fine-tune the wine quality and discover her own winemaking style. In 2001, while still at J.Lohr she started her own label, Kalawashaq Wine Cellars, making Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Syrah, Zinfandel and Cabernet Franc. During her time at J.Lohr, Tara enjoyed visiting Europe and traveling through numerous wine regions in Spain, France and Germany. Through her traveling Tara was in search of learning as much as possible about old world winemaking. After nine years with J.Lohr, Tara headed off to Europe to follow her passion of winemaking and learn traditional styles. For two years, Tara polished her winemaking skills and learned to blend her new world techniques with old world traditions.
In 2010, the Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians purchased the Camp 4 Vineyard and Tara’s dream of giving back to her tribe came true when she was hired on as Winemaker. Tara’s passion for the process of winemaking can be seen in both the vineyard and the winery. Her Chumash culture can be seen in her dedication to the vineyard and giving back to the land through sustainability. She can be found early mornings in the winery soaking in the aromas and giving loving attention to the wines. Tara’s understanding of the site, soils and grapes allows her to shepherd the grapes into lower alcohol, elegant balanced wines with minimal input.