Founded by the legendary Hollywood director for which it is named, Francis Ford Coppola Winery is a celebrity in its own right. With two wineries located in Geyserville, Calif., in Sonoma County, Coppola creates vino that celebrates the director’s film and family history, and the brand has become a household staple for many Americans.
These mass-market wines have gained a fan base almost as large as Coppola’s films. But there’s more to the brand than meets the eye. Read on for 10 things you should know about Francis Ford Coppola Winery.
Winemaking is a Coppola family tradition.
For Coppola, winemaking is a family legacy. When he was a kid, Coppola’s grandfather and uncle made homemade wine in the basement of his family’s New York apartment. Starting a winery and producing internationally distributed wines may seem like a leap from such humble beginnings, but for the six-time Oscar winner, going big was the only way.
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Coppola has made more wines than movies … and that’s saying a lot.
In his decades-long career, Francis Coppola has racked up 36 director’s credits. While this is an impressive tally, he has produced more than double that number of wines, offering a lineup of almost 80 varieties.
Between ‘The Godfather’ and ‘Apocalypse Now,’ Coppola made wine.
In 1972, Coppola directed “The Godfather,” which won the Academy Award for Best Picture in 1973. He directed the sequel in 1974, and the following year he acquired the Niebaum Estate (part of the legendary Inglenook property) in the Napa Valley, where the family continues to make wine to this day. He filed for a winery license in 1978 and, in 1979, the Coppola family wine business began under the Niebaum-Coppola name. That same year, “Apocalypse Now” was released, winning Coppola the Academy Award for Best Director in 1980. The Francis Ford Coppola Winery brand, however, wasn’t established until July of 2010.
It helped make cans cool.
The brand made a splash when it released its Sofia Blanc de Blancs mini cans in 2004, and many publications have credited Coppola with being the first to popularize wine in cans. In fact, canned wine has been around since the 1930s, all but disappearing in the 1980s. So, although Coppola didn’t invent the practice of canning wines, he certainly kicked off the modern trend.
It’s a winery, it’s a theme park, it’s The Family Coppola estate.
The brand has two wineries: Francis Ford Coppola Winery, and Francis Ford Coppola Winery Too! (formerly called the Virginia Dare Winery). The wineries — each offering different wines and the latter even offering a cider — are a five-minute drive from each other, and both have all the features you expect when visiting wineries, like wine tastings and beautiful views. However, they also offer much, much more.
Francis Ford Coppola Winery boasts two pools, bocce ball courts, a marketplace, and two restaurants. The estate also hosts private events for up to 300 guests. And for oenophiles in love, Francis Ford Coppola Winery Too! hosts weddings.
Francis Ford Coppola Winery is a go-to for movie buffs.
Inside the winery is a mini-museum known as the “movie gallery.” The space is filled with movie memorabilia, from some of Coppola’s Academy Awards to Don Corleone’s desk from “The Godfather.” Other artifacts are scattered across the estate so visitors can check out the attractions while sipping on vino.
There’s a Family Coppola wine for everyone.
Whether you’re a big spender or looking for a great deal, there’s a Family Coppola wine that will fit your needs. The bottles range in price from $8 to $120 for the Diamond Collection Chardonnay and the Archimedes Cabernet Sauvignon, respectively.
Though the Francis Ford Coppola name adorns the majority of the brand’s bottles, the Family Coppola umbrella also houses two other brands: Bee’s Box Wines and Domaine de Broglie.
For Coppola, wine and movies go hand-in-hand.
Famous films inspire many of the brand’s wines. The Director’s Great Movies collection includes a Cabernet Sauvignon inspired by “King Kong,” Chardonnay honoring “Jaws,” and Merlot inspired by “The Wizard of Oz.” The Director’s Cut line includes wines such as Final Cut, named for cinematic terms, and the Storytellers series includes wines named after Coppola’s “Apocalypse Now.”
The winery has won awards of all kinds.
Like Coppola’s movies, the winery has earned many awards. It was named Winery of the Year in 2017 by the San Francisco International Wine Competition, and at the Critics Challenge International Wine & Spirits Competition, two of its wines — the 2013 Archimedes and the 2013 Eleanor — earned scores in the high 90s.
It has also won some more unique accolades, including a Green Medal Award for sustainability. The Francis Ford Coppola Winery was also named “Best Place to Play Bocce Ball” in the Press Democrat newspaper’s 2020 Best of Sonoma County competition (say that five times fast).
Coppola works with both grapes and grass.
The director makes more than just movies and wine. In 2018, he launched his own cannabis brand called Sána Company. The limited-edition release included three cannabis strains, all sold along with rolling papers and glass pipes and packaged in containers shaped like wine bottles — a nod to Coppola’s acclaimed winery.