November 2020: "Women Winemakers of Color"
Tara Gomez, Kitá Wines
We are thrilled to be working with Tara Gomez, the winemaker behind Kitá Wines in the Santa Ynez Valley. Tara’s love for winemaking began as a child with her fascination for science and the aromas of wine. 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. In 2010, she was brought on as Winemaker of the newly established Kitá Wines, a winery that the tribe established for their 1,400 acre property. The word “Kitá” means “Our Valley Oak” in the Chumash native language of Samala.
Tara focuses on respecting the balance of soil, climate, location and taste. With a total case production of around 2,000 cases, Kitá wines are crafted using sustainable methods and a blend of old world and new world winemaking techniques. Look out for news about Tara Gomez – she’s a rising star in the wine world.
Red Table Wine
We think this is such an interesting wine. First of all, we love that it’s non-vintage! What that means is that Tara was not beholden to the standard “rules” about blending within a specific vintage, but rather let her creativity run free for an expressive Rhone style blend. (If you must know, it’s a blend of 2014 and 2015). The result is a rustic blend of Grenache and Syrah with hints of tropical fruit. Pair with bold spicy flavors like chili verde and carnitas, for your next indoor picnic.
Natasha Williams, Bosman Family Vineyards
Natasha Williams is a dynamic young winemaker from the rural town of Saron in South Africa. From a young age she felt an affinity for science and nature, and originally studied Microbiology before realizing that something was missing. She graduated from Stellenbosch University with a degree in Oenology and after completing a 6-month internship at Jordan Winery, joined the Bosman Family Vineyards winemaking team in late 2014. Her elegant impact on the wines is unmistakable, and over the years we have seen the breadth of her skills flourish. We present here two wines – quite different styles –that are each remarkable for presenting an honest approach to terroir and sustainable, Fair Trade, winemaking. (Another reason to love the winery: 26% ownership was given to their black employees, and sales from every bole additionally support a number of community projects related to education, retirees, health clinics, and youth activities).
We LOVE this wine. Whether you’re a fan of orange wines or new to them, we have a feeling you’ll love this particular wine too. What makes a wine “orange?” Simply: fermenting white wine grapes with the grape skins (also called “skin contact” or “skin maceration”). Doing that gives the wines an orange hue. What we love about this particular orange wine is that it’s so clean, making it approachable for everyone. Made of Grenache Blanc, which has an affinity to the warm climate of Wellington, this wine experienced skin contact for 20 days, yielding a rich color and a nice backbone. Pair with a salt baked fish or bring it to your next socially distant gathering and show off about orange wine.
Versatile and classic, this wine is a quaffer. Big blackberry and plum aromas are rounded out by a long, fresh fruit-packed finish. Another full bodied red to keep you warm, pair with beef casserole and watch the first snow of the season.
Ntsiki Biyela, Aslina Wines
You may have heard Ntsiki Biyela’s impressive story before. Ntsiki Biyela is South Africa's first black woman winemaker. She grew up in a rural Zulu village and never dreamed of being a winemaker – in fact, she never even tasted wine before studying it. In 1999, with ambitions of higher education, she applied for a chemical engineering scholarship… and was turned down. Instead, however, she was offered a scholarship to study oenology at Stellenbosch University. In spite of not even speaking the language of instruction (all wine classes were taught in Afrikaans), she discovered she had a natural gift at winemaking. In her first year out of college she received a gold Michelangelo award. She subsequently served as the winemaker of a boutique winery in Stellenbosch for 13 years, and was named Woman Winemaker of the Year in 2009. After participating in Wine for the World's collaboration series to showcase up-and-coming talent, she was able to fulfill a dream in 2014 and launched her own company, Aslina Wines, named after her grandmother. She has since sky rocked to international fame, including being featured in the New York Times twice, The Wall Street Journal, Forbes,
In Zulu, “Umsasane” is the word for the Acacia tree. Ntsiki’s grandmother earned the nickname for the shelter and protection she offered to Ntsiki and the other girls in her village. Ntsiki fittingly named her flagship wine after the inspirational woman that helped raise her. This is an elegant, Bordeaux-style blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, and Petit Verdot. Pair with a steak dinner, someone special, and a fireplace. Food and Wine Magazine, among many others. As a global inspiration, she now also helps provide opportunities to people of color in the South African wine industry through the Pinotage Youth Development Academy. In honor of Ntsiki’s recent nomination to Wine Enthusiast’s 2020 Winemaker of the Year, we couldn’t help but share her top-of-the-line wine, the Umsasane with you.