Francis Ford Coppola
Resurrecting one of Napa's most storied wineries would demand someone with a sweeping cinematic perspective and who is unafraid of quixotic quests. Famed director Francis Ford Coppola fits that bill. For more than 40 years, Coppola has invested his passion and fortune in his dream of bringing Inglenook back to greatness.
Inglenook's story is an epic one. Finnish sea captain Gustave Niebaum created the Napa estate in the 1870s. His wines, and those of his great-nephew John Daniel Jr. in the 1940s, made Inglenook Napa's paragon of quality. But then Inglenook was sold to a big corporation that turned it into a jug wine brand. Enter Coppola, who has spent upwards of $100 million rehabilitating the winery and property. In 1975, he bought 1,500 acres, including half of Inglenook's 200 acres of vineyards, along with its house. Twenty years later, he bought the winery and the remaining 94 acres of vineyards. In 2011, for roughly $10 million, he bought the Inglenook name. Determined to recapture the wines' historic quality, he has along the way created a hugely successful wine company and brought new luster to California wine country. Coppola earned Wine Spectator's Distinguished Service Award in 2003.