Sofia Fedotova never imagined she’d own a California winery. Growing up in the Ural region of Russia, she worked for a consulting firm specializing in seminars for CPAs. In a tale of internet matchmaking gone right, Sofia’s online profile caught the eye of one John Mauro, who promptly flew to Russia, proposed and whisked her off to a new life in California.

Sofia and John started a highly successful electronics business while at the same time raising four children. “We’re the typical American dream story,” Fedotova says. “We started our company in our garage and used our bedroom closets as storage.”

They subsequently acquired warehouse space; it is in one such space where they recently opened their new tasting room, Lightpost Winery. “We traveled around wine country, fell in love with delicious wines from California sun-kissed grapes and decided to make something of our own,” Fedotova says.

It was the purchase of Big Oak Ranch in Morgan Hill that set them firmly on the path to becoming winemakers. The couple took classes in everything wine-related at UC Davis, then fortuitously met well-known French winemaker Christian Roguenant (Deutz, Laetitia, Niven), who came aboard to help them craft a diverse slate of wines. “I know what kind of wine Sofia and John like: big, rich and robust,” Roguenant says.

Lightpost’s current lineup includes a 2018 rosé of pinot noir (Spanish Springs), a 2018 albarino (Edna Valley), 2017 chardonnays (Santa Cruz Mountains and Edna Valley), 2017 pinot noir (Santa Cruz Mountains), a 2017 Rhone blend and cab from Paso and 2016 cabernets from the Santa Cruz Mountains—including a 2016 Fellom Ranch Cabernet from Monte Bello Road in Cupertino.

Roguenant is excited about all the 2018s and the upcoming 2019s. “I’m making the best wines I’ve ever made in the US,” he says.

The Mauro’s Big Oak estate vineyard was planted in July, so for now, they’ll continue to rely on select coastal fruit sources, through direct grower relationships and with the help of viticulturist Prudy Foxx.

Lightpost Winery visitors will find two labels on the tasting bar: one elegant and traditional, bearing the Lightpost logo, and the other, fun and fanciful, inspired by the sketches of Sofia’s mother.

The Lightpost tasting room is open Wednesday-Sunday, 11am to 7pm. Outdoor seating beckons, and indoor seating includes a wine club-only lounge and an area where kids can play while parents taste.

Lightpost Winery
900 Lightpost Way, Morgan Hill