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Published on March 13, 2013 0

Two Buddies

Francis Ford Coppola is returning from the shooting of his movie, Rain People. He is traveling with his assistant, young George Lucas from Modesto, California. George Lucas suggests that they pass through Napa Valley in Northern California on the way back. Coppola has heard of this place; his grandfather made wine from Napa Valley grapes for years. For a second he imagines a small Italian community living among the vineyards.

A few years later…

Coppola remembers the place he has traveled through, together with George Lucas. He thinks to himself, why don’t I buy a small place there, I will make an Italian-American house wine from a blend of grapes, together with my wife. So he revisits Napa in 1975 with his wife. He was looking for a small place. The real estate agent he spoke to tells him that while not exactly what Coppola is looking for, he wants to show them something anyway. And he takes them to an auction ongoing at the time. Coppola tells about the incident: At the end of the road there this big house and a magnificient huge winery. Like a scene from a George Stevens movie; rich people are sitting by the pool, a big Mercedes at the front. This was a place called the queen of Napa Valley by everyone.

They intend to buy a little shack, but buy a huge mansion instead! The Coppola’s end up owning the place, after their accidental visit to the auction. They sample the wine produced there and realize that they are in a very special and historical place, in terms of winemaking.

Gustave Niebaum, a Finnish captain, comes to Napa after retirement. He falls in love with the place, buys land and builds a stone winery he calls Inglenook, in 1887. In the 1950’s Inglenook had a reputation of producing the best wine in California. This is the story of the place Coppola purchased accidentally. The Coppolas purchase and restore the remainder of Inglenook in 1995. Thinking that winemaking is also a major form of art like filmmaking, Coppola starts organic winemaking. He currently lives there.

In the meantime, his assistant George Lucas owns Skywalker vineyards.Lucas and Coppola make wine from Lucas’ Skywalker vineyard in Coppola’s Niebaum winery and start selling the wines under the brand Viandante del Cielo “Skywalker”, in 2002. Coppola and Lucas have been making wine together since 2000.

At the end of the story this is our question: These two excellent filmmakers who make wine together, why don’t they make a film about wine?

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