For his next wine project, filmmaker-turned-vintner Francis Ford Coppola is turning to Oregon's Willamette Valley. His wine company, The Family Coppola, is purchasing Vista Hills Vineyard, in the Dundee Hills subappellation, from the McClintock and McDaniel families. The sale includes Vista Hill's 42-acre estate vineyard, planted to Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Pinot Gris, along with the Treehouse tasting room, but not the Vista Hills brand.
Coppola plans to launch a new Pinot Noir–focused brand at the site. Vista Hills winemaker Dave Petterson is joining The Family Coppola and will produce the wines for the new label. The sales price was not disclosed.
The team at The Family Coppola, parent company of Francis Ford Coppola Winery, Virginia Dare Winery and American Pioneer Winegrowers, had been looking for an Oregon property for several years but wanted to find an estate where the family could create their own brand. “Francis loves the property and the tasting room, and the bones of it,” Corey Beck, CEO and chief winemaker at The Family Coppola, told Wine Spectator.
The McClintock and McDaniel families will no longer be involved in the winery but will retain a residence on the property. ”They were really thoughtful about who was going to buy the winery,” said Petterson. “They cared about finding a buyer that didn't have ideas of building a giant brand.”
Founders John and Nancy McClintock purchased 20 acres of land and an old farmhouse at the summit of the Dundee Hills in 1995. Two years later they planted Pinot Gris and eventually expanded the vineyard to 42 acres, adding Pinot Noir and Chardonnay vines. The McClintocks' daughter and her husband, Cristy and David McDaniel, managed the estate.
The deal comes as Vista Hill is wrapping up harvest, and the Coppolas will use the grapes for their planned Oregon brand. Details of the brand will be announced later this year. Beck says the label will focus on Pinot Noir from the different blocks and clones. They will also produce a Pinot Gris and Chardonnay. Vista Hills won't produce any wine from the 2018 vintage, but the McClintocks will retain the brand and may produce a small amount of personal wine.
The company doesn't plan to make any major changes to the estate. It is redecorating the tasting room and will add memorabilia from Coppola's films. But it will not build a winery on the property and will continue to produce the wines at a separate facility. Vista Hills produced nearly 7,600 cases of wine a year and sold some of its grapes to other wineries including Soter, Dobbes Family Estate and Elizabeth Chambers. Going forward the company will no longer sell the grapes, allowing the estate to expand production to 10,000 cases a year. The Family Coppola currently has an annual production over 200,000 cases a year, across their brands.
This is The Family Coppola's first foray into Oregon, expanding upon its already sizable California wine ventures. They join a growing list of California wine companies that have recently invested in Oregon's Willamette Valley, including Jackson Family Wines and Foley Family Wines.
Beck says the Coppola family may consider buying other Oregon properties but wants to create a footprint in the region first. “We weren't just going to buy a property to say we are here,” said Beck. “It has to be the right fit and feel.”
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