Spending 34 years in the wine industry, winemaker/owner Chris Gorman of Gorman Winery is being celebrated as the Honorary Vintner at the 2019 Auction of Washington Wines (AWW). Gorman Winery has grown tremendously since its opening in 2002 and likewise with the Auction, Washington 31-year-old nonprofit wine event that now raises millions of dollars each year for Washington State University Viticulture and Enology program as well as Seattle Children’s Hospital.

Gorman launched using fruit from Kiona Vineyards — coincidentally the honorary grape grower this year as well — and today produces around 8,000 bottles a year.. Gorman Winery currently has two tasting rooms in Woodinville, Washington, where the winemaker showcases his work. While chatting with us, Gorman talks about his proudest accomplishments during his career as well as his shock as being honored. The Auction of Washington Wines takes place August 15-17, with tickets to various events still available.

1) What got you into winemaking?  

After completing astronaut school with NASA, I left to pursue my true passion of being a blues man. Then I made the obvious transition to winemaking. (Gorman went into wine distribution after graduating from Western Washington University, then moved into winemaking after selling the wines of the world.)

2) What are you most proud of in regards to your career?  

Our growth has been exciting. Gorman Winery was only me up until a few years ago. Now we have about 20 employees and I am amazed and humbled everyday regarding our popularity and interest.  

3) How does it feel to be the honorary Vintner of the Auction of Washington wine?  

First off, I am as surprised as anyone. After 34 years, AWW must have run out of viable candidates! In the last 34 years my Washington winemaking mentors have done this role: Marty Club, Bob Betz and Rick Smalls to name a few. I am taking this role very seriously and hope I can pull it off. 

4) What is a part of winemaking is your favorite part?  

Well I have a good crew and it’s exciting to watch things happen correctly. We have dealt with limitations of space and infrastructure in Woodinville. Our new production winery in Maltby (Washington) is state-of-the-art and we look forward to 2019 being our greatest vintage.