Mountaintop Vineyard with Sophie Gray
Over the last few years we have watched with admiration as Sophie and her husband have built their business - Sophie James Wine - with deep integrity and sharp vision, foraging a path for organic winemaking that has made powerful waves within a male-dominated industry. It has been a joy to follow along on Sophie’s journey as a winemaker, mother, and businesswoman as she has continued to hold a place as an innovative and powerfully positive force for good, all while building a family as she became a mother of three.
Sophie has been a true friend and ally to us in countless ways - donating wine to our annual Planned Parenthood fundraiser and supporting our every step - and it is our honor to feature her here today. We had the distinct pleasure of hearing more about the company, their organic growing practices (a rarity in the wine industry), and the many ways in which they have had to resolutely stand up for themselves and the practices they believe in. Read below to learn more, and click here to indulge in a bottle of her exceedingly special California bubbly!
We love your wines and are so inspired by your mission - can you tell us a bit more about how Sophie James Wine Co. is different?
We believe that organic farming produces the highest quality wines. We also believe that organic farming is better for the health of our water, soil, farm workers, communities, and Mother Earth. Many companies aren’t able to make this transition to organic farming on their own because it costs more to farm organically – for example, having someone manually mow the grass under the vines instead of spraying an herbicide is an added cost for the farmers. Most of the largest wine companies (who purchase the majority of the grapes that go into making the wine you see on the mass grocery store shelves) aren’t willing to pay the extra cost for these intensive farming practices and, as a result, growers are not able to afford to farm organically to make ends meet. Our mission at Sophie James is to help more grape growers convert to organic farming by covering their extra costs. By supporting Sophie James and other companies committed to organic farming, in whatever way you can, you’re helping to end this cycle.
What do you see as the north star for the wine industry and Sophie James?
Personally, I feel like we have a whole generation of people who are extremely thoughtful about choosing to eat organic fruits and vegetables. However, there seems to be a huge disconnect when it comes to choosing organically farmed wine. I am on a mission to help our community understand that wine is an agricultural product that needs to be farmed year round. Once I started drinking our wines (that are only made from organic grapes) I could feel the difference - I knew that this mission was calling me and I am so excited for what the future holds. I am also passionate about bringing the romance and stories back to wine. Wine has been a part of human life for thousands of years and there is so much beauty in the stories of where wine comes from, who it is made by and why. I feel like some of that is being lost in our generation, and I am so excited to help bring it back and tell these stories.
You’re a working mom of three and owner of a successful business - how do you do it all?
It is absolutely a juggle. When we launched Sophie James, I had an 18 month old and a 3 year old. Now we have an 8 and 6 year old and a newborn - things are even more challenging but I feel like I am really trying to emphasize to other women that there is no such thing as doing it all. The only way I manage everything is by sacrificing certain things. I have cut out a lot of things in my life that were not of the utmost importance to me and I feel like what is left is a life that makes me truly happy. I value my family first, above all, and I put my all into my work. I love my community and spend as much time with my friends as possible, but right now I am really in a growing phase - growing my family and growing my business, and I love it.
What inspires you and fuels the passion for this company?
I am inspired by Mother Nature. When we first moved to our Mountaintop property back in 2010, my whole life changed. We became organic farmers and I became a passionate advocate of organic and sustainable farming because it is better for our soil and planet. It was really what led me to launch Sophie James and keeps us going day in and day out.
Tell us about what’s next for Sophie James!
I am just so excited and proud to be on this incredible mission with James, my family, and our amazing winemakers. I feel like we are really going to bring positive change to our industry and I am loving the journey. What is next… Wow! So much! We are launching a new wine this year and I can’t wait for everyone to try it! I am also excited about meeting more vintners and working together to convert more vineyards to organic farming. It is absolutely the future, and I am honored to be a part of it.