The biddies talk about Francis Ford Coppola, American film writer, director and producer – perhaps best known for his work on The Godfather, and also someone who became a force in the American wine industry. He and his daughter Sofia Coppola run a veritable wine empire, own a legendary wine estate, Inglenook, and are also credited with being the first to put sparkling wine in a can. Tune in for the full scoop!


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Sofia Coppola Was the Original Wine Influencer (

Inglenook | Sofia Coppola

Sofia Coppola | Biography, Films, & Facts | Britannica

Celebrating 25 Years of Sparkling Wine – Sofia Coppola | Wine Spectator

Francis Ford Coppola – Director, Producer, Screenwriter | Britannica

How Frances Ford Coppola Brought a Fabled Napa Winery Back to Life (

Francis Ford Coppola: A History with Wine – Bottle Barn

An Interview With Francis Ford Coppola: Master Filmmaker And Major Wine Producer (

Image Credit: Vanity Fair

Study Notes On Coppola Wine:

*Please note these are the literal notes we created to record the podcast and sections may be copied and pasted from our sources above.


  • Francis Ford Coppola is an American film director, producer, and screenwriter considered to be one of the major figure in Hollywood in the 1960s and 70s in a style of filmmaking called “New Hollywood”
  • He has received five Academy Awards, six Golden Gloves, 2 Palmes d’Or and a British Academy Film Award
  • He’s known for a lot of things but what put him on the map was The Godfather


  • Born in Detroit, Michigan on April 7, 1939
  • His father was a flute player and composer and moved the family to New York City were he grew up in Queens and Great Neck, Long Island
  • He was confined to bed with polio at age nine and created his own puppet shows for entertainment and toyed around making 8-mm films
  • He attended Hofstra, receiving a BA in drama, and then pursued his Master of Fine Arts degree at the University of California at Los Angeles


  • There have been a lot of celebrities who have recently lent their name to winemaking projects (and honestly, pretty much just their name) but Coppola was decades ahead
  • After the Godfather 2, He bought Inglenook, which is one of Napa’s most revered vineyards in 1975
  • Coppola is Italian American and grew up with wine frequently on the dinner table
  • “My grandfather and his paisans used to buy a half a train car of grapes from California to make wine. The grapes came from Robert Mondavi’s father. So I knew about Napa”
  • This is just one year prior to the Judgement of Paris to California and Napa were still up and coming areas for winemaking
  • Winemaking in the family dates back to the 1920s when his grandfather Agostino Coppola made wine in the basement of his NY apartment building using home made concrete vats
  • He created a successful wine business with a line of inexpensive wines that bore the name “Francis Ford Coppola Presents
  • He had an estate Cabernet called Rubicon that never quite took off so in 2011 he made some dramatic moves to restore and elevate the property


  • One of the most respected estates in Napa
  • Originally purchased in 1879 by Gustave Niebaum, a wealthy Finnish fur trader and sea captain
  • Eventually amassed about 1,100 acres and built a winery, chateau, and Italian style mansion
  • Initial wines won prizes including one in 1889 at the world’s fair in Paris and was drank by Grover Cleveland
  • After Niebaum’s death, his wife kept the winery going and his great-nephew John Daniel Jr (many of his vintages are coveted by collectors including the 1941 Inglenook Cab considered one of the greatest wines of the century)
  • Allied Grape Growers bought it in 1964 and was later split up by auction
  • Initially, Coppola lost to land developers but with new land use restrictions in Napa happening, they couldn’t proceed with building condos so it went to Coppola
  • The name Inglenook was owned by a series of corporate interests so he forged on without the famed name
    • Canandaigua Wine Company (now Constellation Brands) had the brand and 94 acres at the core of the historic estate by 1994
    • Coppola negotiated and bought the rest of the property in 1995 renaming it Niebaum-Coppola Estate Winery and then Rubicon Estate Winery
  • “Inglenook, the brand, the estate, and the wine, embodies California wine history and European-informed, tradition bound aesthetics combined with a US West Coast sense of place, and most of all, freedom”


  • 2006 – the Coppola Family purchased the historic Chateau Souverain in Sonoma County which is the home to the popular Diamond Collection
    • This became the Francis Ford Coppola Winery
  • In 2011 – He finally was able to obtain the name and brand Inglenook for a large sum and hired Philippe Bascaules of Chateau Margaux
    • He committed to earth-friendly production including building a cave which eliminated the need for heating and cooling
  • He also created a “wonderland” for visitors
    • “I’ve always been influenced by the idea of Tivoli Gardens in Copenhagen, which was the inspiration for ultimately all modern amusement parks. I remember the beautiful theater pavilions with the curtains painted with peacock feathers that had little ballet performances. At Tivoli, there were rides but more important than the rides were the cafes and the refreshments, and just the sense of being in a children’s garden, a ‘pleasure garden’ for all people to enjoy”
  • Among American Wine companies, the Francis Ford Coppola Winery ranks among the top ten producers of premium wine and fifth as a wine supplier in that category
    • Premium wine is SRP $10+
  • Francis Coppola has racked up 36 directors credits but has created 80 varieties of wine


  • Also a film director, producer and screenwriter like Dad. Other credentials include fashion designer
    • First and last significant acting role was as Michael Corleone’s daughter Mary in the third godfather movie
      • (Gilmore Girls remark) overly negative reviews pushed her away from acting
    • You might know her from the Virgin Suicides (1999) (wrote the screenplay) and Lost in Translation (2003) (wrote, directed, produced)
    • First woman to be nominated for an Academy Award in category of best director
  • Mother is artist and documentary filmmaker Elenor Coppola
  • First entered the wine scene because her father launched a canned wine called SOFIA
    • One of the world’s first sparkling wines in a can
      • Pioneers in canned wine, 2004: Neibaum-Coppola produced 5,000 cases for the test run—with 24 cans per case—and it sold quickly enough that production is expanding rapidly, Martin said. The cans retail for $5 each, or in four-packs for $20.
    • Sofia was involved in the grassroots marketing
    • Before there was Archer Roose, or Lubanzi, or Ramona, or even Underwood—in other words, before there was wine in a can that was remotely acceptable to drink in front of other humans—there was SOFIA.
    • Mean to be young and fun and vibrant
    • “Aimed at the nightclub crowd and meant to be sipped through a straw”
    • Rose and white
    • Also have bottles now and SO MUCH SPARKLING
      • Blanc de blancs, a prosecco DOC, a champagne method, etc
    • Sofia not actually involved overly in the brand
      • However, for the first time in the wine’s history, Sofia herself has gotten involved with the line by overseeing the brand’s anniversary redesign.
      • Sofia wanted her namesake to carry her creative imprint, with an updated label and packaging that felt authentic to both her personal aesthetic and the brand. Further commemorating the anniversary, Sofia Wines is partnering with another brand that reflects a fun, feminine and affordable lifestyle: Brooklyn’s Catbird jewelry studio