Francis Ford Coppola

If you’ve ever found yourself saying, “I’m gonna make him an offer he can’t refuse,” or “It’s not personal; it’s strictly business,” with a terrible mock-Sicilian accent, then you’ve already been introduced to the genius that is Francis Ford Coppola.

If you have no idea what I’m talking about, two words: “The Godfather.” If you still have no idea what I’m talking about, one word: Netflix. But actually it doesn’t matter, because this post has very little to do with Coppola’s cinematic legacy.

Award-winning director Coppola paid a visit to Lakewood Theater last night to talk films, family and most importantly, wine during a three-hour, invite-only event to promote the Francis Ford Coppola Winery.

The Francis Ford Coppola brand has been an increasingly popular item on wine shelves. And for good reason, as the gentleman sitting next to me, Ted Sheil, a wine consultant with Kroger Co., pointed out. “I can honestly tell you there’s not a bad Coppola wine, even the lower end. They’re all good,” he told me.

During the discussion, Coppola reflected on his family history with wine, regaling us with his earliest memories of sitting around the table with his family where wine was always present. Later, after he’d married and had two children of his own, he bought a part of the Inglenook estate — the historic wine estate in Napa Valley founded by Gustave Niebaum — in 1975 with profits from “The Godfather.”

He began making wine and launched the Francis Ford Coppola brand. In 1995, he bought the rest of the Inglenook property with the profits from “Bram Stoker’s Dracula.” Then in 2011, he acquired the Inglenook trademark. (If you’re interested in learning more about the history, there’s a timeline on his website.)

Throughout this time, he launched dozens of wines under the Francis Ford Coppola brand, many of which were named for family members, which oddly enough, were some of the most popular wines — Sofia wine for his daughter, Votre Sante for his grandmother, and a recent addition, Gia for his granddaughter.

Aside from detailing his history with filmmaking and the wine industry, he talked at length about each member of his family, making his way through a picture slideshow and even singing the songs he wrote for each of his grandchildren and offering his secret to a happy marriage.

After all, “A man who doesn’t spend time with his family can never be a real man.”


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