Jack Gorman - Executive Director

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By Mike Wreyford and Mike the Wine Guy. Discovered by Player FM and our community — copyright is owned by the publisher, not Player FM, and audio is streamed directly from their servers. Hit the Subscribe button to track updates in Player FM, or paste the feed URL into other podcast apps.

With a bachelor’s degree from the University of California, Davis, in political science, six years as the director of government relations with the nation’s second-largest student loan provider, and as a member of Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s senior staff and advisory team, Gorman spent almost 20 years honing his prowess as a government relations professional and political strategist before pursuing his love of the grape.

Raised in Lodi in the ’80s, Gorman was not completely unfamiliar with life in a wine region, but he didn’t start to find his passion for it until the mid-2000s when a co-worker introduced him to the wineries of the California foothills. At the same time, Lodi was experiencing its own wine revolution, and weekends often found him wine tasting in Lodi and across California. Gorman says that as his appointment with the Schwarzenegger administration was coming to an end, he was becoming increasingly disillusioned with the country’s leaders in Washington, D.C., and he found his focus was shifting. Though he’d grown up around vineyards, he hadn’t really known or cared much about wine until he started hearing stories about the people who made it.

“All of my extra time was being spent on wine,” he says. “I was really excited about California wines.”

In 2012, Gorman and his then-fiancé (now husband) Kyle Peppers moved to Maryland so Peppers could attend graduate school. Unenthused about the potential professional options for Gorman in D.C., the couple agreed it was time for Gorman to follow his new passion for wine full time, starting with a $10-per-hour job at a wine retail shop, so he could start learning everything he could about the industry from the ground up.

“It wasn’t exactly a midlife crisis,” Gorman says with a wry smile, “but I did make a total career change in my 40s.”

One of the two brands of Amador County-made wines represented at the wine shop where he worked in Baltimore was Scott Harvey Wines. So when a tasting room manager position opened up at the actual winery in 2014, Gorman knew it was his opportunity to officially get his foot in the door of the California wine industry. Out of more than 90 applicants, Gorman was selected for the position and almost overnight became an Amador County resident.

“The plan was for it to be a stepping stone to Napa or Sonoma,” Gorman says. “Bay Area was the goal.”

After only a few short weeks, though, Amador began to work its magic on the couple, especially Gorman.

“I didn’t just get excited about the wine,” he says. “I got excited about the people and the passion that drives this small community.”

172 episodes