A day of tasting and fun at California's Coppola winery
Tasting associate Emily Kyllingstad pours a glass of wine in the tasting room at the Francis Ford Coppola Winery in Geyserville, California. (Mike Siegel, The Seattle Times, MCT / June 6, 2011)
It's a day destination, complete with an array of non-wine-related activities: swimming pools, bocce ball courts, 28 pool "cabines" — and a chance to explore some of the most famous movie paraphernalia in cinema history.
Director Coppola's five golden Oscars are among the displays in the winery's Movie Gallery exhibits, including his first Oscar — for the 1972 film "The Godfather." Also on display is the 1948 Tucker Sedan — only 51 of the then-revolutionary cars were manufactured — used in Coppola's 1988 film, "Tucker: The Man and His Dream. "
There's more to the winery than wine and movie memorabilia. It's designed to be a place where adults and children can relax for a day. An outdoor stage, the Pavilion, hosts live music and other entertainment. It's adorned with a large mural that was part of the set of "Godfather II." Nearby are two swimming pools (reopening in spring) joined by a "swim-through" with spraying arches of water. Covering 3,600 square feet, the pools give room for family play. Twenty-eight poolside "cabines" — European-style private changing rooms with showers — are available for day-use rental.
For those who want to focus on the wines, daily tours show off the property and bottling facility and wind up in a tasting room. More than 40 wines are produced on site, including a sparkling wine named after Coppola's daughter, filmmaker Sofia Coppola.
Hungry? Pair the wines with Italian and international cuisine at Rustic, the winery's restaurant whose menu is designed around some of Coppola's favorite meals from around the world. Coppola himself frequents the winery and is sometimes found eating at its restaurant.
IF YOU GO:
WHERE: The Francis Ford Coppola Winery is about 75 miles north of San Francisco, off Highway 101 near Geyserville in Sonoma wine country.
MORE INFORMATION: The winery is open daily. No reservations are needed for the complimentary tastings, but several tours (including of the bottling facility and a blindfolded tasting in the winemaker's lab) do require reservations. See http://www.franciscoppolawinery.com/visit or phone 707-857-1400.