What do you think of when you hear the name Inglenook? That’s right, cheap wine. Six dollars will buy you a magnum of Inglenook White Zinfandel today. But all that’s about the change, dramatically for the better.
Francis Ford Coppola, the oenophile film director, has bought the brand name Inglenook from the Wine Group, a California mass market producer.
In 1975, flush with cash from The Godfather, Coppola began by buying the old Inglenook homestead and reuniting the original vineyards bit by bit. He later acquired the historic 19th-century winery buildings while the original name, Inglenook, was passed from one multinational to another, with scant regard for its reputation.
“The name might have been trashed and ruined, but people are still paying tens of thousands of dollars for bottles from the previous era. It all needs to be reunited,” Coppola said.
The estate, in Rutherford on the west side of the Napa Valley, produced some of the most admired American wines in the 1940s and 1950s. Coppola intends to return the brand to its former glory. Starting this summer, Bordeaux winemaker Philippe Bascaules, formerly of Chateau Margaux, will take the helm at the newly refashioned Inglenook.