San Luis Obispo County
A new small, family-run winery in Morgan Hill, Lightpost Winery is making a name for itself with site-driven wines from the best vineyards on California's Central Coast.
If you believe it was a match made in heaven, you’d be partially right.
It’s the story of Sofia Fedotova and John Mauro and is a modern fairy tale worth repeating.
The story began right after the turn of the present century. Sofia Fedotova was a highly successful business woman in Russia where she worked in the incubation industry helping start-up businesses become successful. She held multiple university degrees in diverse fields such as power engineering, psychology and finance and management.
John Mauro was an American entrepreneur and musician who was successful as a songwriter and executive in the cell phone industry. He became involved in the world of electronics, including electronic asset recovery, electronic recycling, and everything related to electronics.
How did they meet? On Match.com, if you can believe it.
John was duly impressed with Sofia and traveled to Russia to meet his Online friend. As in many movie scripts, the pair fell instantly in love and decided to get married. One of the common threads that brought them together was a mutual love for wine, the world’s classic aphrodisiac.
The couple eventually settled in California, surrounded by the state’s over abundance of wine and great wineries. Sofia decided to add to her academic slate and began taking classes at UC Davis’ heralded school of Viticulture and Enology. Two years later, she received her certificate and began an additional career as a winemaker.
A decision was made to involve themselves in the wine industry and an extensive 56-acre tract called Big Oak Ranch in the eastern foothills of Morgan Hill became the bedrock of their fledgling winery operation.
A winery was constructed some three miles away on Lightpost Way, the basis for the resultant winery name and operation.
“We were able to purchase some marvelous grapes from several sources and produce and release our first wines,” recalled Sofia Fedotova.“That was in 2019 and it helped fill the void until our own vineyards reach fruition. We have planted five and a half acres of the Big Oak Ranch and will have some usable fruit in a couple of years.”
Sofia Fedotova also emphasized the fact that Lightpost Winery is a local winery geared for local consumers that also include the State of Pennsylvania.
“We started small, around 700 cases,” she related.“This year, we will produce around 5,300, a good level for us until we are able to utilize our own estate fruit. We are following our dream and, so far, we have a really wonderful following of consumers who have been quite loyal to our wines. We always strive for exceptional quality in our wine portfolio and hope to do even better in the future.”
The former Russian business executive shares winemaking chores with veteran French Winemaker Christian Roguenant, the possessor of an extensive resume in the world of wine. Roguenant spent his youth in Beaune in the heart of Burgundy and received his oenology degree from the University of Dijon. In California, Roguenant is considered a true wine guru and lists Baileyana Winery, Tangent, Carpe Diem Napa Valley and Rosenthal- The Malibu Estate Vineyard among his winemaking successes. He is a former Central Coast Winemaker of the Year (2017) and guest lecturer on oenology at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, Hancock College, Enartis (an international wine expertise company) and Scott Laboratories (a leading supplier to the wine industry).
A compelling Lightpost Winery label features a prominent lamp post that reflects light, the all important aspect to the vine’s growth and wellness in the vineyard.
Prior to entering the wine industry, Sofia Fedotova and John Mauro opened an electronics business that occupies Mauro’s time and attention to this day. “John is always available to make important decisions for our winery,” explained his wife, “but he concentrates on what he loves - the electronics business, where most of his expertise lies.”
Lightpost Winery is a fledgling operation that has achieved much success in its relatively brief existence. Its owners have worked tirelessly to provide remarkable wines that reflect the true terroir of their varied locales.
It is a pleasure to bring this exceptional new winery to the attention of our Platinum Wine Club members. The future looks bright for Lightpost Winery and the addition of its own estate fruit will further boost the statue of this important newcomer.
Map of the area
Dear Platinum Wine Club Members,
It is our pleasure to present you with our first ever Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon - the Lightpost 2018 Cabernet Sauvignon, Paso Robles, Reserve. This unique blend is comprised of some of our best wines made from selected vineyards on the west side of Paso Robles. Our vineyards are sustainably farmed to minimize our farming impacts on nature. Winemakers Sofia Fedotova and Christian Roguenant use the same winemaking techniques that are used in the region of Bordeaux: small fermenter, pump over and punch down, as well as extended fermentation and long barrel aging.
Our 2018 flagship Cabernet Sauvignon blend was assembled among the cellar’s best lots. Its enhanced structure comes from adding small amounts of Cabernet Franc (10%) and Petit Verdot (5%). This blend has a well-balanced ratio of fruit and phenolics (color pigments and tannins) supported by the aromatics of twenty months of French oak barrel aging, bringing velvety and soft tannins. This wine has the potential of twenty years of aging and will show its full potential in two to three years.
Our goal is to make wine that emphasizes the unique characters of a wine region. West Paso Robles Cabernet generally offers aromas of ripe black cherry, cassis, plum, and ripe black fruit. Thirty-six years of winemaking in the Central is a key asset to help our winemaking team offer you this classic, awesome Cabernet.
We invite you to come and visit us in Morgan Hill (20 minutes south of San Jose) to discover our Tasting Room. It will be a pleasure to hose you and help you discover our line-up of Pinot Noir and Sparkling wines. We look forward to hearing your feedback at [email protected]