Some people are born with certain talents and instincts, Tom Gore is one of those people. Tom was born and raised in Sonoma County’s Alexander Valley where his father, Tom Sr., was a vineyard manager and partner in Vyborny Vineyard Management. As soon as he could walk, Tom, Jr. stuck close to his father’s side, walking through the vineyards, watching the farming process and riding with him to deliver grapes. At just three years old, Tom Jr., walked through a vineyard with his aunt, accurately explaining to her that the workers were field budding the vines. By age five, Tom knew what he wanted to be when he grew up.
Tom attended Santa Rosa High School, was active in FFA raising both animals and plants, and showed pigs for two years at the Sonoma County Fair. After graduating, Tom went directly to Cal Poly where he studied fruit science. It was during his summer breaks, working at Mumm Napa, when Tom began to form his own ideas for how he would farm grapes. Upon graduation from Cal Poly, Tom got his first full-time position in 1998 as an Assistant Vineyard Manager at Jaeger Vineyards in Napa Valley. He then moved on to Walsh Vineyards Management as a Vineyard Manager, working on vineyards throughout Sonoma and Napa Counties.
With 8 years of experience under his belt, Tom joined Constellation Brands where he cared for the Franciscan and Mt. Veeder esteemed Napa Valley vineyards. After a year in that post, Tom had the opportunity within Constellation to return home to Sonoma County where he managed 680 acres of estate properties for Simi Winery. Tom’s role and responsibilities have since evolved into his current position as Constellation’s Director of Vineyards for Sonoma/Mendocino Counties. He is presently responsible for the farming of 1400 acres over 12 properties in Sonoma County for Simi, Clos Du Bois, Ravenswood, and The Dreaming Tree.
In addition to his astute farming skills, Tom is also committed to helping the continual development of the local labor force. Tom conducts workshops with the Sonoma County Wine Grape Commission Workforce Education Program on varying topics including frost protection, water efficiency, field supervisor training, and additional other relevant topics to help develop the overall local workforce.
Tom has recently joined the Healdsburg FFA Boosters and is working with Healdsburg High School on the development of their Farm to Table program. He also sits on the Boards of the United Wine Growers, and the Alexander Valley Wine Growers.
On winning his award, Tom humbly stated, “I had no idea that I was nominated or being considered for this Award, so I was truly surprised but very honored and appreciative that my peers and previous winners nominated and selected me. The County is full of great examples of people that I work alongside and admire in all aspects of agriculture. They inspire me to take a more active role in Sonoma County agriculture. It is especially meaningful to be recognized by the County where I was raised and plan on spending my life. I am so proud to be a part of the amazing agribusiness in Sonoma County, which is filled with so many dedicated and passionate people. I’m also glad that somebody still considers me young!”
The Outstanding Young Person in Agribusiness is given annually to a person under the age of 40 who is involved in the production or processing of an agricultural product or commodity, primarily of the harvest type, in Sonoma County. The person must have demonstrated outstanding achievement in connection with the overall operation and management of the enterprise, the methods utilized to accomplish goals in productivity, efficiency, and profitability and holds a leadership roll in community activities and/or industry activities.