Scientifically inclined from an early age, Tara Gomez grew up playing with chemistry sets, and enjoyed tagging along on wine-tasting trips with her parents along California’s Central Coast. She earned an enology degree from Cal State Fresno, then interned at Fess Parker Winery and worked for J. Lohr before returning home to the Santa Ynez Valley. Her first independent label, Kalawashaq’ Wine Cellars, was named for the village where her Chumash ancestors once lived. She soon helped establish Kíta Wines, sourcing fruit from her native Chumash tribal land and serving as winemaker. Her work has won acclaim from Wine Enthusiast, The Daily Beast, Cherry Bombe, and beyond.
Along the way, Tara met her life partner, fellow winemaker Mireia Taribo Tena, and launched the natural wine endeavor Camins 2 Dreams from a shared love of winemaking and for one another. They live on the Central Coast with their canine fur babies, Kiana and Kaila.
Cristina Gonzales is the granddaughter of migrant farmworkers from Texas, who moved to Wisconsin to pick cherries in search of a better life. While traveling as a backpacker through South America in 2001, Cristina landed in Mendoza, the epicenter of Argentinian Malbec. With a newfound passion for wine, she entered the wine industry in 2006 and began working harvests in California, Oregon, Tasmania, and Australia. Later, she honed her skills at A to Z Wineworks/REX HILL in the Willamette Valley. By 2010, she launched Gonzales Wine Company with a focus on accessible, minimal-intervention wines.
Cristina currently resides in Portland with her son and produces wines from Oregon and Washington. She is a passionate advocate of farmworkers rights and an active member of Oregon’s Latinx wine community.
Inez Ribustello is a progressive voice of the South who is driven by a passion for community and hospitality. In 2016, she co-founded Tarboro Brewing Company, a popular gathering place in Eastern North Carolina. A native of the region, she got her start in the world of food and wine after moving to New York City and attending the Institute of Culinary Education. She soon advanced to become Beverage Director at the World Trade Center restaurant Windows on the World, then the largest grossing restaurant in North America, where she worked until the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001.
Returning to her hometown of Tarboro, she and her husband opened On the Square, a restaurant, wine bar, and retail store with a wine list that has earned the prestigious “Best of” Award of Excellence from Wine Spectator. Inez is a member of the Alumni Hall of Fame for the Institute of Culinary Education and a graduate of the Court of Master Sommeliers Advanced Exam. While raising a family, she works tirelessly to support growth and equality in her community.
As the founder of several brands, winemaker and social entrepreneur Ashley Trout has been named one of Wine Enthusiast’s “Top 40 under 40 Tastemakers”, as well as one of Wine Industry Advisor’s “Top 20 Inspiring People”. Arriving in Washington State as a college student from the East Coast, she began her career with a part-time gig at Reininger Winery. After eight harvests in Argentina, Ashley developed a fondness for Malbec, which is now a highlight of her own Brook & Bull label. In 2017, she also launched Vital Winery as a philanthropic effort to support health care for local winery and vineyard workers. The wine is made fully from donations–-from the fruit to the bottles to the labels.
With a great love of the outdoors, Ashley lives in Walla Walla with her husband, fellow winemaker Brian Rudin, and their two children.
Raised on a walnut orchard in the Central Valley, Katy Wilson developed keen knowledge of the land, not to mention mad dexterity with heavy equipment. With a clear vision of becoming a winemaker, she attended Cal Poly San Luis Obispo and began earning her chops in the biz. In the fifteen years since, Katy has served as consulting winemaker on many notable brands, including current clients Anaba Wines, Reeve Wines, and Smith Story Wines. She recently celebrated the 10th anniversary vintage of her own acclaimed LaRue Wines, which has been featured in Forbes, Vinepair, Wine Enthusiast, and beyond.
Katy lives in Napa with her husband David and their pup Nico.
Stalwart dedication to Texas winegrowing and support for the Austin community have earned Rae Wilson accolades as “Superhero of the Austin Dining Scene” from Zagat. With experience working in production cellars in the Napa Valley and in Portugal, she launched her first wine label, Dandy Rosé, in 2014. Soon after, she established a vineyard in the Texas Hill Country, then co-founded The Grower Project in 2016. In 2020, Rae established a third label, La Valentia, and opened a tasting room for her umbrella company, Wine for the People, “committed to cultivating community through wine culture with a greater impact.”
Rae is a Certified Sommelier with the Court of Master Sommeliers. Her work has been featured in Vogue, Wine Enthusiast, and Texas Monthly.