Jim Murphy Bio
Passion for Growing Great Sonoma County Winegrapes
Jim Murphy was born and raised in Berkeley, California and moved with his family to Sonoma County at age 16. He graduated from Healdsburg High School and later Santa Rosa Junior College where he was part of the school’s first graduating class in Viticulture. During high school and college, Murphy worked at Simi Winery with such noted winemakers as Selma Long and Maryann Graft. In 1979, he joined his family’s farming company in the Alexander Valley, growing some Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Chardonnay grapes, but mostly prunes, apples and pears. The Murphy family eventually transitioned to growing predominantly winegrapes and opened Murphy-Goode Winery with the Goode and Ready families in 1985. In June 2006, Jackson Family Wines purchased Murphy-Goode. Murphy still owns and manages 300 acres of vineyards in the Alexander Valley, where he grows Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Petite Sirah and Gewürztraminer.
Murphy is passionate about growing winegrapes and appreciates how science is playing an increasingly large role in helping winegrape growers thrive. Notes Murphy, “Today, everything–the soil, plant tissue, grape stakes–is analyzed. We now have so much more useful information on growing sustainable vineyards than we did 40 years ago. While some people think of growing winegrapes as some kind of gentleman’s leisure activity, in fact, it’s still very hard work; and we will always be at the will of nature. Nevertheless, we feel extremely fortunate to be growers in Sonoma County, one of the best places on earth to grow winegrapes.”
Murphy is a Commissioner on the Sonoma County Winegrape Commission and lives in Healdsburg with his wife and four children. When not in the vineyards, he enjoys hiking and spending time at Lake Tahoe.