Francis Ford Coppola: From Making Movies to Making Wine
The label off of Francis Ford Coppola's new wine.
Francis Ford Coppola changed the way Americans thought about movies with films like his “Godfather” series and “Apocalypse Now.” The Academy Award-winning director, producer and screenwriter may now be changing how Americans think about and buy wine.
Coppola got into the wine business in 1975 when he bought the old Inglenook estate in Napa Valley. Over the years, he restored to the property both acreage and prestige, first as Niebaum-Coppola and, since 2006, as Rubicon Estate. The wines are classic Californian in taste and packaging, in keeping with the estate’s historical lineage.
But it is over in Sonoma County, with his more moderately priced and more populist Francis Ford Coppola Presents wines, that things have gotten rather lively.
Coppola has been stirring up the wine barrel with all sorts of eye-catching initiatives. He is selling wine in single-serving cups. He has adorned bottles of his Votre Sante with intricately cut labels to create a lacelike effect. And he is marketing an Argentine torrontes under the Encyclopedia label in a bottle that looks like a cross between a laboratory beaker and a Wesson oil bottle. Prices range from $12 to $36 for his red, whites, roses and bubblies.
“We want them to have quality, authenticity and pleasure,” Coppola said of the public. “Above all, quality, because we know wine, in certain areas, has gotten expensive and we really want to give something worth what you pay.”
Breaking the Francis Ford Coppola brand away from Rubicon five years ago has proven liberating, Coppola said. It allowed him “to be innovative and to experiment,” he said.
Not surprisingly, Coppola is the idea man in developing wine products.
Why, he wondered, couldn’t a person go into a convenience store and buy a glass of wine to go with lunch without the hassle of bottles, glasses and corkscrews? Out of that came “Wine by the Glass,” a 187-milliliter (just over 6 ounces) portion of red or white wine in a bistro-style glass with a peel-off foil lid. It costs about $1.
Often his ideas have come from his own family. His grandfather was a home winemaker who used alicante Bouschet grapes. Coppola never forgot that now-rare variety and asked his winemaker, Corey Beck, to track some down. Beck did, and the Francis Ford Coppola Diamond Collection Alicante Bouschet was born.