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May 20, 2024
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Lightpost Winery brings knowledge to winemaking 

Inviting tasting room located in north Morgan Hill

If you’re like me you rarely enter a weekend without some kind of plan and cherish the times you can be spontaneous waking up on a weekend morning. If that’s the case I think I’ve got a great spontaneous fun destination that’s worth planning around. 

Getting up on a weekend morning, or any afternoon for that matter, I recommend considering a visit to one of only two winery tasting rooms in Morgan Hill proper, with this week’s column featuring Lightpost Winery. 

Housed in one of the old Thomas Kinkade buildings in north Morgan Hill, it’s a few hundred yards from the U.S. 101 Cochrane Road offramp—thus it’s easy to get to. It’s also a wonderful surprise to find such an inviting and calming place to gather that is away from the downtown.

So what is Lightpost Winery about? It’s about an intelligent and energetic woman who immigrated to the United States and continued to follow a dream. In 2002, Sofia Fedotova arrived in the U.S. and started an electronics business with her partner, John, in their home. Fulfilling the dream of small business success, Sofia and her partner pursued another dream—making their own wine after experiencing the fabulous wines of the Napa and Paso Robles areas.

Sofia immersed herself and earned a winemaker certificate from the University of California, Davis viticulture and oenology (that’s growing and harvesting the grapes and making wine from the grapes, respectively) program. 

Being armed with the knowledge to understand how to make wine and what makes up a good wine is one thing; but putting that knowledge into practice to make good wine usually takes some experience. Luck would have it that they would meet a man with plenty of experience not only making wine in California but who grew up making it in France, which is generally recognized as the home of the best wines before California presented its world class challenge.

Christian Roguenant brought his wealth of experience to Morgan Hill and Lightpost Winery. Sofia and partner John were now prepared to produce some stunning and award winning wines, and that production continues to this day.

Driving up to the winery you will see an industrial looking building much nicer than most—as might be expected from the former home of the Thomas Kinkade art studios. There is a large, colorful wine bottle sculpture that pairs nicely with an oversized spinning wine glass sculpture. 

You will also see the “Wishing Tree,” a tree that accepts ribbons tied to its branches as you make a secret wish. Keeping your wish secret until it comes true will surely be more difficult than finding a wonderfully fulfilling wine just inside.  

The tasting room is airy and bright with modern touches. There are tables outside with heat lamps and a wonderful view of those features at the entrance.

As wonderful as approaching and entering the tasting room might be, the real treat is the wines. 

Specializing in blends from the Rhone and Bordeaux regions of France, Lightpost Winery’s offerings are expansive. I counted no less than 25 offerings including sparkling wines, crisp to oaky whites, petite pinots to big reds and dessert wines. They truly have a wine for everyone with different offerings from the same varietals, including eight pinot noir options alone! 

They make great wines and you don’t need to take my word for it. Lightpost Winery was honored with “Wine of the Year” at the 2022 Monterey Wine Competition for their Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve from Paso Robles sourced fruit. Their 2019 Saveria Vineyards Reserve Pinot Noir (Santa Cruz Mountains) earned 94 points from Wine Enthusiast Magazine (that’s a big deal). That’s just the tip of the iceberg.

Amy Terronez, a Lightpost Winery tasting room staff member, pauses for a photo at the winery’s north Morgan Hill shop. Photo: John McKay

Lightpost has a broad range of offerings which should appeal to anyone in a tasting room that has something for everyone. Younger wine drinkers should appreciate the modern tasting room; families can even enjoy their wines with their children in the Family Room; a private tasting room is available; and pets are always welcome.

I asked Sofia what she would like you all to know about Lightpost Winery, and it all came down to love and passion. The passion to care about the craft of winemaking and learning everything you can to make the best wines. The love and passion that drives one to make the best wine with the hard work involved from tending the vineyard to hours and hours of blending to make the wine just so.

I feel Lightpost Winery is another one of our hidden gems just ripe for discovering. The quality of the wines, the variety of offerings, the comfortable yet modern tasting room with a place for everyone. Take some food and sip away the distractions of our modern world.

I hope you take some of your valuable time and treat yourself to a local gem of winemaking. You deserve it. 

You’ll find Lightpost Winery at 900 Lightpost Way in Morgan Hill, the doors are open 11am-6pm Wednesday through Sunday.

John McKay has been working with the local wineries and restaurants for over a decade. Promoting local wines and food has driven McKay, a former city council member, to help establish the Morgan Hill Tourism Alliance and serve on the Board of the Morgan Hill Downtown Association (MHDA). He now serves on the MHDA and Visit Morgan Hill Board of Directors. He can be reached at [email protected]

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