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01 Jun 2024 | Jeremy Dugan

A Love Story From Santa Barbara County's Camins 2 Dreams

It’s a love story made for the movies, if they still made wine focused movies like Sideways, A Walk in the Clouds or A Good Year. A Catalunya Gal comes to the California to work a harvest and meets a woman of Chumash Tribe heritage, and they become friends. Our Spaniard goes back home and starts working for an up-and-coming winery and quickly becomes their winemaker. But even with all this success in her home country, she keeps thinking about the friend she made in the States, and that friend is also thinking about her. The Californian then went to Spain to work two harvests, and wouldn’t you know it? She goes to work at the Catalonian's winery. The two decide to do some global traveling together and they fall in love.

Tara Gomez, the first native-American winemaker in the U.S., once made wine under the Chumash-owned Kità label.  We loved Kità wines, having first discovered her outstanding 2010 Cabernet Sauvignon when it was given to us by the father of her assistant winemaker at the time.

In the skillful hands of Tara, impressive, well-structured, classically-styled wines were made from the well-regarded Camp 4 vineyard in eastern Santa Ynez Valley, also owned by the Chumash tribe.  The Wine Country featured many Kità wines over the years.

A few years ago, the Chumash elders decided to shelve the Kità project, and Tara found herself out of a job.  We were stunned.  No more Kità?  We had a lot of customers who loved drinking those wines.  And what about Tara?  Where would she go?  A winery would be lucky to have a winemaker with such an affinity for her vines and her wines.

Tara and her wife Mireia Taribó, a winemaker in her own right, decided to create their own project called Camins 2 Dreams in 2017, making wine in Lompoc and sourced from fruit grown in Sta Rita Hills and Portico Hills, north of Los Alamos.  Like Kità, these wines would be hand-crafted, equally terroir-driven, but from completely different vineyard sources with minimal-interventionist techniques employed at the winery.

 

With a nod to Mireia’s Spanish heritage, the couple make wines from Graciano, Mencia and Albariño, plus small lots of Rhone varieties Syrah, Grenache and Carignan from pedigree sources, and a Gamay, two Gruner Veltliners including one in a Pet-Nat style, a rosé and a couple blends, one with a “pride” label.  Most of the wines are made to be dinner wines with a lower alcohol content than many premium California releases.

The results are soulful, natural-tasting wines of excellent balance and exciting flavors.  In The Wine Country, you will find them parked in our Natural Wine department, but everyone—not just our Natural Wine customers—should give them a try.  After sampling a number of them at a recent tasting, we were struck by how elegant and table-friendly they all were.  The aromas were gorgeous, the red wines paler than most, and the alcohols were all in check.  Be sure not to miss the refreshing white wines, particularly the Gruner Veltliner and the Albarino.

For Tara, watching her beloved Kità winery shut down must have been a disappointment that would crush most people.  Instead, she used the opportunity to create even more adventurous wines from some of the most celebrated vineyards in Santa Barbara County.  Making them alongside her soulmate Mireia makes the wines of Camins 2 Dreams even more meaningful.

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