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Meet Susanne Sapier of Vineyard Grant James in Ramona

Today we’d like to introduce you to Susanne Sapier.

Susanne, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
In late 2008, we decided to buy a piece of property in Ramona, Ca and start a vineyard. Just 3 weeks later, in early 2009, we planted our first vine on the property. While waiting for the new vines to produce good grapes, I started wine-making right away.

In 2011, I started using my estate grapes to make wine. In 2013 we opened the Vineyard Grant James tasting room to the public and to this day, I love to see people enjoying our wine and the atmosphere of a boutique winery in the Ramona valley. The winery is named after my son Grant, and my father James. Our family owned winery and vineyard is growing, but will always have a small, community feel to the business. I very much enjoy hand crafting wine and experimenting with blends. We recently were selected as the #2 vineyard in the country by Travel + Leisure magazine, and continue to grow and try to make an experience that people will not forget, and keep coming back from more!

Has it been a smooth road?
Owning a winery is not as glamourous as it might seem. There are moments of extreme highs like a wine coming out of the barrel that is exactly what you wanted it to be, and extreme lows, such as loosing grapes to sneaky creatures, and disease. I would be lying if I said it has been a smooth road. Most struggles have been unpredictable such as weather change, low yields in the vineyard, fluctuation of supply and equipment costs, etc., but the rewarding moments definitely have outnumbered the downfalls. We have been so blessed to have had people come from all over the world to try our wines and experience the Ramona Valley.

So let’s switch gears a bit and go into the Vineyard Grant James story. Tell us more about the business.
Our winery is a fully functioning vineyard and winery that focuses on bringing quality wine to the public and creating experiences that make people want to stay, and come back. We grow varietals such as Sangiovese, Merlot, Tempranillo, Orange Muscat, Nebbiolo, etc. We use all of our estate grapes in our wine, and buy grapes from local Ramona vineyards in order to have enough wine to fill our demand. We have a tasting room that Is open Friday-Sunday from 12pm-6pm, and offer a unique wine club, special winemaker dinners, educational classes, holiday events, and extraordinary customer service. We specialize in making hand-crafted, local wine that shows the great terroir of the Ramona Valley.

I love to experiment and make interesting red blends, as well as educate people through making single varietals. As a company, I am most proud that we have created a space where people feel like a part of the family. From helping with harvest, being involved in winemaking, going on trips together, or just being invited in the house for dinner, people come to our winery to feel like they belong to something great, and I am very proud that we have created that space. People always talk about the ambiance and service at Grant James, and I believe that is what sets us apart.

Whether it be Jacques bringing out blankets, or snacks to people on the patio, enjoying the nice breeze and sangria on a summer afternoon, or getting cozy in the happy barn on a rainy day, everyone always feels good at Grant James. The wine is pretty good too, if I may add!

What are your plans for the future? What are you looking forward to or planning for – any big changes?
We are in the works for our small winery and major use permits! We are planning to expand our patio, build a new winery building, and also create spaces for events such as weddings, private parties, special dinners, etc. We hope to have our new spaces in the works next year, so look forward to bigger things happening at Grant James. Our main goal is to keep our atmosphere and service at a 5-star level while expanding our services to have more events and bring more people to the Ramona Valley.


  • Wine Tasting, 6 Wines, $10
  • Private Winemaker Tasting, Including Tour, $25 Per Person
  • Wine $25-$42 Per Bottle

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Allie Campbell
Cassandra Parsons

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