A visit to Francis Ford Coppola’s “house”

In recent blog posts I’ve shared about our February visit to Sterling Vineyards and a smaller boutique winery, August Briggs. Some of the comments I received were complimentary of the photography or information I’d shared about the region, but also included comments that since the reader didn’t drink wine, a winery tour might not be in their best interest.

That’s a reasonable observation.  But let me tell you a little something about the Francis Ford Coppola Winery and see if it doesn’t turn your head!

This extraordinary winery is located in Geyserville, a small city in Sonoma County situated on the Russian River and surrounded by distant mountains.

There’s no debate that the Coppola Winery is surrounded by exquisitely peaceful beauty.

Add to that the fact that the winery and estate vineyards are certified by the California Sustainable Winegrowers Alliance, a statewide program providing third-party verification of a winery’s commitment to sustainability. The Winery is part of the Sonoma County Winegrower’s commitment to become the nation’s first 100% sustainable wine region by 2019. 

Music to my ears. But then there’s so much more!

Film director Francis Ford Coppola describes his winery as a “wine wonderland,” built with a design influenced by Copenhagen’s Tivoli Gardens amusement park.

Two connected swimming pools bordered by European-style dressing rooms/cabins with showers, are open to the public on a reservation basis.

Included in the elegant “amusement park” guests have access to a sunbathing terrace, movie gallery, a performing arts pavilion and a park with game tables and bocce courts.

Our visit felt very much like a visit to the Coppola home.

And wouldn’t a famed director have his Oscars and movie memorabilia in his home?

Marlon Brando’s desk from the Godfather sits prominently in one room, commanding a great deal of attention. It’s a beauty!

Scripts and director notes sit prominently with Coppola’s many Oscars and awards. Apocalypse Now, the 1979 American epic war film directed, produced, and co-written by Coppola, is also well represented.

And to show you just how large this estate really is…

How about the gorgeous and elegant 1948 Tucker Sedan used in the movie Tucker: The Man and His Dream? 

There is so much to see!

Elegant dining is available and I promise you I could go on and on.

We’re likely not able to travel to this region again this year, but I would like to seriously consider visiting next year some time between April and November when the pool is open for reservations. I have added “swimming as a guest of Francis Ford Coppola” to my must-do list!

With all the grandeur, remarkably it still feels like someone’s lovely home. I made mention of this to the server attending to our lunch. She immediately added that I had captured what Francis Ford Coppola had wanted the public to experience.

He was successful in achieving a sense of hospitality that surprises.

We even located a Little Free Library.

 

Wine tasting is a pleasure for the enthusiast, but have I convinced you that there is often much more to enjoy?

Maybe one day I can meet you poolside!

46 thoughts on “A visit to Francis Ford Coppola’s “house”

  1. I don’t drink, but Ms. Storyteller does a little. I still like winery tours. The process is fascinating and there is usually there is a lot to photograph. It’s all in how you imagine it. Besides. A Tucker. Mmmmmm.

    1. You’re right, Ray! There’s so much to photograph and some beautiful areas just to sit and ponder. I think the winery tours are fascinating and the wine tasting is optional anyway! 🙂

  2. I try never to “yuk” someone else’s wow, so I’ll refrain from negatives, Debra. The allure for me is only in the surrounding countryside, and I am thankful to say I have spent some time in Sonoma County. My late hubby had a family member in Guerneville and we visited her there. That was more years ago than I care to count, but I will never forget the beauty of the countryside; the river, the not so distant mountains, and the trees, those glorious trees! Thanks for the reminder.

    1. It is a gorgeous landscape, Karen. I always enjoy that beautiful agricultural land and we spend a lot of time just walking in the vineyards, when we have access! This was February, so it was a little dormant, but still lovely! 🙂

  3. I have been to Geyersville several times, but not to Copolla’s. Very impressive – and also a great example of using one’s name and fame as a marketing tool. How was the wine?

    1. We didn’t spend any time in Geyserville this time, Frank, and I’d like to return. We’d been to the Coppola Winery in Sonoma years ago and I remembered being impressed, but this location was really lovely. They do obviously have an advantage with name recognition, but from what I’ve been reading now that I’m on their mailing list, the family is very committed to the community and opens the grounds for a wide variety of events. By the time we visited we decided we’d had enough wine tasting. And they distribute several of their modestly priced wines broadly across Southern California, even Costco, so we’ll get to know them better. I did have a nice glass with my lunch and enjoyed it very much, but I don’t remember what varietal it was. 🙂 I will definitely be trying more–research, you know!

    1. I think if you had to limit your time in the area this one would really be worth visiting, Andrew. Although Geyserville is “teeny tiny,” I’d still like to explore a little bit. We didn’t this time. But I’m sure we’ll be back. Hope you can visit, too!

    1. I don’t know the exact year the winery relocated to Geyserville, Kate, but it did move. We visited the other location in Sonoma years ago, as well, and if I remember my trivia correctly, it was the site of the original Inglenook winery. Much of his memorabilia was at the former location, but I’m sure with this new estate he built around his collection. It’s really lovely!

  4. Oh, but to join you one day poolside! That would be heavenly!

    I loved this. Our niece and nephew were at the Coppola Winery and raved about it, but, never showed us photos. I’m going to have to ask them if they have some, too. Much elegance, for certain, but, also a big part of movie-going psyche. Then, there IS that Little Free Library. 🙂

    1. This really was a very unique experience at the Coppola estate, Penny. There is a lot written about it on-line and I was really taken with the intention to open the doors to the community for events, large and small. When we were on our way out and to the parking area I spotted the Little Library and that just “sealed the deal!” That’s a nice connection to know that your niece and nephew visited. You’ll have to tell them sometime that we agree with their very positive impression. 🙂

  5. Wow! I have never felt drinking wine would be a requisite for enjoying the natural beauty in vineyards, such as in California, Italy or France.
    The “Tucker” movie was one of my favorite movies that everyone in our family enjoyed seeing together. So great they open the entire property to the public.

    Hopefully, they search potential guests and make sure of everyone’s identity. There are “crazies” who are not nice and/or jealous of famous people.

    Debra, by showing the distant photos of the mountains and the beauty in the tastefully​ decorated mansion you enchanted me. I admire the Coppola’s and I bet the money from admission is donated to a worthy cause.
    I loved the Russell Crowe movie called, “A Fine Year.” Also, “Under the Tuscan Sun,” with fun, romance and real friends.
    I have had two little free library posts on my blog. It is special they included one. I would think they would stock it with fantastic books like “To Kill a Mockingbird” and “Of Mice and Men.” Good books which were made into great films. Thank you for sharing about your husband’s lifelong work as a switchman on the railroads and have a wonderful weekend, Debra.

  6. The next time I’m up that way I will check out that winery for sure! We usually frequent the smaller, boutique wineries but it would be fun to look at the movie memorabilia and maybe even sit poolside for a bit (do you think I could reserve not only a dressing room but also my very own cabana boy?).

  7. I have heard of the Coppola vineyard. Thank you for sharing the images. What a wonderful post. So many incredibly interesting photos – I love all the film memorabilia but such stunning scenery as well xx

  8. Oh Debra, I really do live vicariously through your travels. This looks like another wonderful breathing lighter adventure…hope to see you as well poolside with cabana waiter of course serving our refreshments. Cheers!

  9. Absolutely gorgeous! What a fantastic place to visit. I thoroughly enjoyed this tour with you, Debra. Thank you so much for sharing. x

  10. Dear Debra, you’ve certainly convinced me–I’m allergic to alcohol and so don’t drink wine–that a visit there would be a wonderful adventure! So I’ll meet you poolside! Peace.

  11. Thanks for the personal tour, Debra. This is part museum, part winery, and part playground. I love spending time in wine country and though I’m not a huge wine connoisseur, I’ve always enjoyed learning about the process. We’ve toured several wineries over the years, and in fact, we were married at Wente Brothers Winery in Livermore nearly 23 years ago. What I’ve noticed in all wineries is the immense pride in the work and the appreciation for the art and science of good wine-making. That and the beautiful surroundings make for an interesting way to spend an afternoon.

    1. We drive through Livermore several times a year and I didn’t know that Wente Brothers was there! I’ve been to a couple of winery weddings and found them so gracious. I think we’ll visit Wente Brothers at some point! I enjoy a nice glass of wine but I’m far from knowledgeable and don’t consider a connoisseur, certainly, but I love the agricultural aspect and I think I just love the beauty of most of the locations. Again, I’m so glad I could share with you and bring back some happy memories. 🙂

      1. Thank you, Debra. We looked at several wineries for our venue, but the wait times for the more popular wineries were one to two years! They were a lot pricier too. We were delighted to revisit Wente and book our wedding. We married on the first day of autumn that year with golden brown hills in the background.

  12. Wow! This scenery is truly astonishing, Debra. I would love to visit Francis Ford Coppola’s house one day. Your pictures look spectacular. 😉

    1. Thank you, Lydia. I hope you may one day visit the Coppola winery. I think part of my purpose in sharing is to encourage exploring the region, even among those who don’t care that much about the wine industry. They’re just beautiful destinations. Thank you so much for leaving such a nice comment. 🙂

  13. Now that certainly isn’t your average winery. An all day event with a tour, a swim, a glass of wine and a meal…definitely a must do destination spot for anyone visiting the area.

    1. I don’t think I’d have been at all persuaded towards returning, and certainly not been interested in the pool and many of the amenities, if I’d been overwhelmed with the commercial aspects of the Coppola winery, and of course, it is a business. But the family was very successful in making it feel like a gracious, albeit HUGE, home. I can’t wait to return. I wonder if I should write them at some point and tell them how much I think their strategy worked. LOL!

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