The napa valley is full of men in search of fame. Men who have spent tens of millions of dollars to be immortalized on a bottle of wine. And yet Napa Valley’s most famous resident, Francis Ford Coppola, actually took his name off his label several months back, turning Niebaum-Coppola Estate Winery into Rubicon Estate. The Coppola name, however, isn’t gone entirely; around the same time, he bought the old Chateau Souverain winery and moved all the Coppola brand wines there—making him Sonoma County’s most famous vintner instead.
Hoping to hear more about such developments and get some more details about Coppola’s other impending projects (movies, restaurants and resorts), I flew to California for a chat with the famously press-shy movie director.
Coppola has lived in Napa Valley for more than 30 years; it’s been his home between buying trips to Italy, movie-making in locations like Romania and forays to his resorts in Belize. As Coppola explained to me, his original intention was to find a "nice little summer house" in the valley where he could make some wine for family and friends. Instead, in 1975 he bought one of the most historically significant properties in California, Inglenook, which he renamed Niebaum-Coppola Estate Winery, in honor of Inglenook’s founder Gustave Niebaum.