Francis Ford Coppola Winery
This winery is the newest to bear the name Francis Ford Coppola, however it was officially unnamed at the time of our visit. To some the name of Francis Ford Coppola may be best known as a filmmaker. The name is also synonymous with winemaking and storytelling, and all of his wines tell a story. Francis’ grandfather made table wine for the family and it is with these memories that the passion for winemaking led to the eventual buying of a part of the Inglenook estate and the building of the Rubicon winery in Napa. Adjacent to the tasting room there is a restaurant.
We were warmly greeted upon entering the spacious tasting room and offered a taste of the sparkling wine Sofia, named after Francis’ daughter. Our server spoke of the Diamond Collection of wines and the Director’s Cut Series of wines. These series of wines are made at this winery.
We had the opportunity to take a tour of the winery with Robert Pickett. This was by far the most relaxing tour we have had at any winery. We took our Sofia and spent time sitting outside on a terrace discussing wine and Francis Ford Coppola’s vision of creating great wines that are affordable for everyday use. This was the perfect setting for wine tastings. The snow capped Mount Helena in the distance and vineyards surrounding the winery lend to the relaxing atmosphere. We learned that the property and building was recently purchased in 2006. It was formerly known as Chateau Souverrain.
About five of the acres near the winery belong to Coppola. Much of the surrounding acres are leased from the Trentadue Winery. One of the acres belonging to Coppola was given to the staff. This effort was to help make the staff feel a part of the winery. Our observations were that the staff at the winery really enjoy working there and the passion that started with Francis Ford Coppola has imbued the staff.
After our time on the terrace we toured the winery. The building looks deceptively small from the outside for a winery, but is quite large on the inside. The symbol of barley and the words wine, food, and adventure adorn hundreds of wine aging oak barrels. One may wonder why a symbol of barley is placed on an oak wine barrel. One is led once more to a story. The barley symbol was inspired by one of the first coins produced in the Basilicata region of Italy. This was the ancestral home of Francis’s paternal grandfather, Agostino Coppola. We stopped at one of those barrels. Tasting wine from a barrel enhanced our tour.
One of the most unusual wine labels comes on the Director’s Cut wines. Spiraled around the bottle are zoetrope drawings. The zoetrope uses still images and when turned creates the illusion of a movie. Once again the connection is made between filmmaking, wine making and storytelling. The grapes for these wines come from the best vineyards in Sonoma County. Different areas of Sonoma County do a better job of growing different grapes. For example the Director’s Cut Chardonnay comes from Chardonnay grapes grown entirely in the Russian River Valley. The Director’s Cut Zinfandel is made from grapes from the Dry Creek Valley.
Robert ended our tour in the tasting room. We enjoyed his at ease discussion of wine and the vision of Francis Ford Coppola. We decided to continue to enjoy the day in the restaurant which was open until 5:00. The restaurant has fantastic views of the surrounding area. One interesting thing that happened while we were eating was the setting up of tables next to us for a tea tasting and information session for the staff. We had the opportunity to talk about tea with the person setting up for the event. There are many comparisons between tasting tea and wine. There are many different types of tea as well as wine. Tea made poorly can be as bad as corked wine.
Eventually the movie memorabilia from the Rubicon Estate will be moved to this winery. This is certainly a winery that offers the visitor a wonderful relaxing adventure. And you can drink wine too.
300 Via Archimedes, formerly Souverain Road
Geyserville, CA 95441
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