Sophie James Winery is truly a slice of heaven on top of Sonoma Mountain. Sophie Gray, founder of Sophie James, was kind enough to open her home to us for our winter photoshoot. We are huge believers in the magic of women supporting each other. Sophie embodies this in everything she does.
Sophie and the winery are so special we asked her to highlight the property for us. Read on to learn more!
"James and I moved into the Sonoma Mountaintop house in 2010. We were in search of a more purpose-driven life, connected to the outdoors. I was 26 and left my career as a stem cell research scientist. It has been a wild and beautiful journey. The whole property is 128 acres and we have 5 acres planted with organically-farmed Pinot Noir vineyards (with another 25-30 plantable acres, so our dream is to one day plant more vineyards!) The weather elements can be pretty intense up on the mountaintop - when it's hot it's VERY hot (exceeding 100 degrees F) and during the winter it even snows.
One of the main decisions we made when renovating the house was painting the entire exterior. When we first moved in the house was actually white but since it’s made of metal there were rust stains everywhere and was an eyesore. Here was this big, white metal house was on top of this beautiful mountain, surrounded by open space, Mother Nature and breathtaking wildlife - yet it didn’t blend in with nature at all. I knew I wanted the house to be in harmony with the natural surroundings, so I dug up a sample of our soil, brought it to Benjamin Moore and asked them to try to create a paint color that matched the natural color of the land. They did and it was so perfect. We painted the house a rusty brown and never looked back!
When we first bought the property, the house and surrounding land needed a ton of work. The first thing we did when we moved to the property was transition to an all-organic farming program, not only the whole vineyard but for the entire property. We also started a migrational grazing program in partnership with the Sonoma Mountain Institute where a few times a year cattle are brought to the property to graze our land (a practice 100% in line with CCOF organic certification), this helps keep the open space and grassland healthy.
We went into extreme house and property makeover mode which included A LOT of DIY (for example, we planted all our landscaping - over 400 plants!). We got super creative to stay on budget by doing things like sourcing all our landscaping from a botany program at the Sonoma County jail that teaches inmates botany skills and all of the plants we sourced are species native to Northern California".
These are some BTS shots of our day. Floor to ceiling windows and curtains paired with the most beautiful light. The end result images by Maria del Rio were stunning.
Thank you, Sophie, for opening your home to us and all that you do to support and inspire women. We had the most amazing day!