Place: Napa Valley
Last visited: 2005
My perspective: Coming from Virginia, I thought wine country would be scenic. Traffic, pollution and industrial equipment are not pretty. We grow grapes in Virginia's valleys as well. It's nice for a day trip. Napa was not. Next time I go west, I'll be hanging at the beach in Solana or Del Mar. Now that's what I call California.
Suggested alternative: Solana/Del Mar
--Craig Weir, Washington, D.C.
Pictured: Castello di Amorosa in Napa Valley (Spencer Weiner / Los Angeles Times)
Film director Francis Ford Coppola
films and "Apocalypse Now"
) has reassembled the historic Inglenook winery in Napa Valley and restored the name to the historic property, which is open to the public for tours and wine tasting.
Gustave Niebaum, a Finnish ship captain, founded the original Inglenook in 1880, using his connections to import vines from Europe. The property was broken up and the label name sold in the 1960s. Coppola and his wife began purchasing pieces of the property in 1975, and within two decades had reassembled nearly the entire Inglenook property.
It would not be until 2011 that Coppola was able to purchase the Inglenook brand name. A 2009 Cask Cabarnet will be the first to carry the label and is being released this month. In addition to Inglenook's signature Zinfandel, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Petit Verdot, Syrah, and eight acres of white Rhone varietals that produce the estate's flagship white, Blancaneaux. Inglenook is now completely restored to its original dimensions.
The public can visit the historic Chateau free of charge and go to the nearby Bistro for wine tasting or wine by the glass. Children of diners are given wooden sailboats to play with in the Bistro's courtyard fountain, a practice modeled after the Jardin Luxembourg in Paris. For those seeking a deeper look, Inglenook offers a variety of tours ranging from $45 to $95, which includes tastings.
Reservations for tours and the Bistro are suggested. Reservations are mandatory for groups of more than nine people. Open 10-5 daily. 1991 St. Helena Hwy., Rutherford, CA. 800-782-4266.Online at inglenook.com.
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