Behind the Brand

Amanda Gorter Goes Deep with Intercept Wines

Jun. 2, 2021

By the time Amanda Gorter was 28 years old, she was the winemaker for a national brand. Today, she is the head winemaker for Intercept Wines, the winery created by NFL Hall of Famer Charles Woodson. But her connection to wine, and to agriculture, is a deep, lifelong bond.

“I grew up surrounded by agriculture,” she told us. “My parents and grandparents worked in agriculture. The seasonality of agriculture has always been familiar.”

Growing connection

From the beginning, Gorter had her sights set on the world of wine.

“Making wine was the dream, I just had to find out if it was a career or a hobby,” Gorter said.

A native of California’s Central Valley, Gorter graduated from UC Davis with a degree in Biology and a Winemaking Certificate and spent years training under some of the industry’s best winemakers. 

“My first job in the industry was a harvest internship at O’Neill’s Parlier winery,” she told us. “It was a wonderland. I was able to learn and experience so much. I saw dozens of grape varieties, winemaking styles, and methods. There is so much energy in a winery during harvest, I knew winemaking is where I wanted to be.”

Team players

Working with NFL legend Charles Woodson to bring Intercept Wines to fruition has been a rewarding experience for Gorter.

“Charles is passionate about everything he does,” she explained. “I really enjoy working with him. He has been involved and interested in wine since his days playing for the Raiders. It feels great to know Charles and the team have confidence in the wines we’re making.”

That confidence is well-founded, as their collaboration has borne some incredible fruit.

“Intercept wines are fuller bodied, fruit forward, and balanced,” Gorter told us. “Our Cabernet Sauvignon and Red Blend are made with grapes from Paso Robles, an area with warm days and cool nights. It’s a perfect climate for big red wines.”

Intercept’s other varietals are just as exciting, too. The company’s chardonnay and pinot noir, made with grapes from Monterey, retain greater acidity thanks to the cooler Monterey weather, according to Gorter.

Planting for the next harvest

”My goal is to keep innovating and raising the bar,” Gorter said. “It’s not really in my DNA to hang my hat on an accomplishment and call it a day. Wine is my lifestyle, livelihood, and passion. I hope I’m still running around vineyards and wineries when I’m 80.”

Her advice for the next generation is equally optimistic, too, as she encouraged aspiring winemakers to not be afraid of being ambitious and get your foot in the door wherever possible.

“The industry is small,” she explained. “Network and make connections. Maybe the first or second job isn’t the dream job but you build your skill set. When it comes time to build and manage a team, you’ll be a better leader because you put in the time diversifying your skills.”

This story is part of our award-winning “Women in Wine” series, our long-running effort to highlight winemakers, sustainable specialists, executives, and others making a positive impact in the world of wine.

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