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Francis Ford Coppola on Wine

The celebrated filmmaker also owns a Napa Valley estate and a winery in Sonoma County, Calif.

Francis Ford Coppola portrait, image
Photo caption
Francis Ford Copolla seeks truth in wine.

Francis Ford Coppola recalls his grandfather making wine at their home in New York using grapes shipped from California. In 1975 the renowned director and producer (Apocalypse Now, The Godfather) bought a historic Napa Valley estate and leaped into winemaking. Today, he also owns Francis Ford Coppola Winery in Sonoma County.

Q Why make wine?
It happened by accident with the fortuitous acquisition of the Niebaum estate, once part of the great Inglenook estate. It’s as if one inherits a racehorse and then feels it would be a wasted opportunity not to race it. Also, I saw that the film industry was turning into an appendage of the telecom industry and felt I ought to find a day job.

Q What makes wine touring popular?
People are being drawn to activities that emphasize real things—wine, food, family, and friends.

Q Why travel to a region to go tasting?
The more you drink and enjoy wine, especially with food, the more you become familiar with the place that produced the fruit the wine came from.

Q Any wine memories?
When I was working in Argentina (on the 2009 movie Tetro), I really enjoyed the great wines there. I loved the malbecs. And in Romania, I drank feteasca neagra (a deep-red wine made from an indigenous grape of that name).

Q Advice for people who aren’t experts?
Just sip wine for enjoyment and little by little your opinions will become more sophisticated.

Adapted from AAA World magazine.

Photography by Francis Fort Coppola Presents

This article was first published in July 2012. Some facts may have aged gracelessly. Please call ahead to verify information.