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This story originally appeared in the Napa Valley Register (October 23, 2015) Tara Gomez fell in love with the aromas of wine the first time she stepped into a winery as a child. Tara Gomez Growing up in the Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians, Gomez was raised in the heart of wine country. With a scholarship from her tribe, she studied enology at California State University, Fresno and was one of two women who graduated in 1998. She went to work as an enologist at Fess Parker Winery before moving to Paso Robles to be the enologist and lab manager at J. Lohr Vineyards and Wines for nine years. She then moved to Spain for two years where she learned traditional styles and studied winemaking in the Pyrenees.
You go to the market to shop and plan a meal. Or maybe you are feeling lazy and pick up a prepared meal. But, ever thought about getting full service dining at the market? Well, at some Whole Foods stores in California, you can do this, as I recently did at Whole Food Venice. Whole Foods Venice (1) Whole Food Venice hosts pop-up wine pairing dinners twice a month. For $30 per person (or 2 for $50), you can get a four course meal, paired with wines. The Venice store has been offering wine (and beer) pairing dinners in their wine bar for three years. Each dinner has a theme, such as sustainability or Icelandic fish and beers, or features a winery. Whole Foods Venice

What are thoughts conjured up when one thinks of Lodi -- hot climate, high-alcohol wines, mass production and large brands? Yes, these descriptors can be used, but it is time to...