Francis Ford Coppola Winery
What gets me about this multi-tiered, wine, culinary and fun-in-the-sun extravaganza is not just that it’s got something for everyone, not just that the legendary film director hones every detail in his empire down to the $5 gift shop items.
It’s that, while I thought that “wine country camo” was a fun joke about the pricey, printed shirts found in boutiques hereabouts, Coppola actually had “vineyard camouflage” shirts created, and sells them for a profit in his gift shop. Will he stop at nothing?
Go ahead, look at the heads
There will be wine. But first, check out the collection of film memorabilia, from recently unarchived "Apocalypse Now" props, to the Tucker car, to “Godfather” Vito Corleone’s desk.
Meanwhile, in the restaurant, heaps of asparagus are roasting on the Argentinean-style grill. There’s an amphitheater for daily performances, four bocce courts, a swimming pool surrounded by rentable cabanas, and multiple wine bars. Prefer bourbon on the rocks? For you, my friend, it’s not a problem.
Take a sip
Free tastes of Rosso and Bianco wines are a tribute to the simple basement wines made decades ago by the director’s uncles in New York. The rest of the lineup seems to grow longer by the day, including everything from Diamond Collection Alicante Bouschet to Su Yuen Riesling. Handy cans of Sofia 2011 Blanc de Blancs ($5), a tribute to daughter Sofia Coppola, are crisp and fizzy, and woo-hoo mimosa material.
Serious reds abound: The Director’s Cut 2009 Cinema, Sonoma County ($39) is a Zin, Cab, and Petite Sirah blend bursting with berry jam and mu shu plum, with pie-eating contest levels of blackberry flavor.
Old-timers might remember this spot as the original Chateau Souverain winery and restaurant. Take it easy, I’m old enough to remember going there for champagne brunch; I just don’t think I was supposed to sip the champagne. The grandfathered permit is said to be the only reason that a restaurant can be here.
Francis Ford Coppola Winery, 300 Via Archemides, Geyserville. Daily, 11am–6pm. Fees vary. 707-857-1400. www.franciscoppolawinery.com